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Results: 1 - 15 of 187
View John Cannis Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John Cannis Profile
2011-03-21 15:52 [p.9043]
Mr. Chair, I think there is no question that every member in this honourable House and everyone throughout the country supports our men and women in uniform. However, when we ask some questions, the last thing we want to hear is that we do not support our military. I hope I will not get this back, given the question I am going to ask.
The minister is a dear friend. The current chair of the Standing Committee on National Defence, which I had the honour of chairing, is here. I heard first-hand the good work and the difficulty that our men and women had gone through over the past several years. However, we have an obligation when we come to the House to also ask questions on behalf of our constituents and the taxpayers. They are asking us what happened, saying that six or eight months ago Gadhafi was part of the club. They really do not know what happened. They ask what is going on with respect to Bahrain and why we are not going in there or other areas.
The minister was kind enough to talk about the conflict in former Yugoslavia that brought about Kosovo.
Canadians are asking these types of question. You might not have the answer right now, but I just thought I would pass on to you the type of discussions going on out there. I know what we are doing is right, though.
View John Cannis Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John Cannis Profile
2011-02-08 12:59 [p.7857]
Madam Speaker, the member from Edmonton—Leduc and the member from Burlington earlier both said that the Conservative government had lowered the lowest personal tax bracket to 15%.
I want to clarify for the record, and if it is challenged we can go back and see it, but the lowest bracket was in our last budget, a Liberal budget, at 15%. The Conservatives then came in with their first budget and raised it to 15.5%. Now the Conservatives stand up and say that they lowered it. If I am wrong, they can stand and say so. If I am right, we should look at the record for clarification for Canadians.
View John Cannis Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John Cannis Profile
2011-02-08 15:51 [p.7884]
Madam Speaker, I listened very carefully to the member from Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar. There are a couple of things to keep in mind.
She talked about Canadians not believing us, for example, about lowering taxes. I will give the member two examples.
First, the government says that it wants to lower taxes. When the Liberals were in government, the employers told us that we should lower EI premiums and they would hire. Instead of lowering them, the Conservative government has increased them to $13 billion. Is that an increase or a decrease?
The Conservatives said that they lowered the lowest income tax personal bracket. When the Liberals were in government, we had it at 15%. The Conservatives came in and increased it to 15.5%. Now they have lowered it to 15%. Is that an increase or a decrease?
The highest tax increase in Canadian history was the income trust at 31%. How dare the Conservatives do that?
View John Cannis Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John Cannis Profile
2010-11-30 13:02 [p.6618]
Mr. Speaker, before I begin my remarks on Bill C-47, I want to comment on something my colleague from Mississauga South touched upon with respect to seniors.
I have been in this House for almost 17 years and the one issue to which all of us have been sensitive is how we address our obligations toward our seniors, our men and women in uniform, and our youth, referring to youth programs, youth initiatives, investment in education. After all, we make speeches about the future of our country and it is our youth who need the right kind of education and the right kind of tools.
With respect to seniors and the fiasco that occurred, I am very pleased that my colleague from Mississauga South touched upon it when he was prompted by a question from our hard-working member for Yukon. I am at a loss for words. All I say is, let us give people the benefit of the doubt and let us move forward positively on that.
I am speaking to Bill C-47, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 4, 2010 and other measures. The audience can see on the television screen, “Bill C-47, Sustaining Canada's Economic Recovery Act”. With respect to the word “recovery“, given what is going on globally, the whole world is trying to recover from a lot of those toxic packages, to be polite, that we saw coming from the United States to different parts of the world and which affected different countries.
We are fortunate in many ways here in Canada because many years ago a Liberal government, under the prime ministership of Jean Chrétien with Paul Martin as the finance minister, took the initiative to address, for example, the banking issue. This was very instrumental in helping us deal with these very awkward and difficult circumstances today.
There were several questions on this bill. The member for Mississauga South said that it is such a large bill, with 199 clauses. He went into some of the technical details, but the average Canadian listening to this debate or reading about it, really wants to hear about the meat and potatoes, things that affect Canadians on a daily basis.
I had the privilege recently as a member of the international trade committee to speak with our counterparts as we move forward on the Canada-Europe free trade agreement. Common throughout the world is that every nation, in looking toward implementing programs to recover, to get its people working and its economy rolling, wants to trade. That is wonderful, because Canada is a trading nation too. All countries want to sell their goods and services, but in order to sell their goods and services, there has to be an economy somewhere that is able to purchase them. In other words, the countries have to have their finances in order.
We were speaking to our counterparts in England, for example. We were listening on an hourly basis to what was unfolding in Ireland, how it was collapsing and its banking system was to be taken over. There was no money available, et cetera. The IMF and Great Britain were to step in to help Ireland, and so they should because Ireland needs a stable, or at least a sustainable economy to purchase goods and services.
The United Kingdom for example, even though it is going through difficulties, relates to us. I want to touch upon that as it relates to the bill. The new British coalition government is moving forward by taking certain steps. As I was reading about them, I had to smile because it took me back to 1993-94. I was being taken back to the future. What the U.K. is doing today, other nations in the European Community and other non-European countries are doing as well. I will mention some of the things they are doing that were done here as well.
The United Kingdom is experiencing difficult times. It is going through an austerity program, if I can use that word. Some of the areas that are going to be spared from the cuts are scientific research, health, schools, meaning investing in education, international development, renewable energy and large infrastructure projects. Areas that are going to be cut are welfare, social housing, policing, which I thought was wrong, as well as government services, which I think was right.
Why am I bringing this up today? There are areas in the budget that needed to be addressed and were not addressed. I will point out two specifically.
My colleague from Yukon talked about health care. Year after year, for as long as I can remember, health care has been the number one priority for Canadians. Coincidentally, I found an article not too long ago that states that Canadians rank health care a higher concern than the economy. It reconfirms what my constituents have been telling me for decades.
What did the Liberal government do when Paul Martin was the finance minister? It implemented the Romanow report. Mr. Romanow said in an interview with Peter Mansbridge that the Liberals exceeded the recommendations. That was a 10-year commitment.
Why am I bringing it up? The Conservatives, in two minority governments, have not made a single investment in health care. When asked a question, the response on record of the then Minister of Health, who is the Minister of Industry today, was that the government will continue the funding, after last year's budget or the year before. In other words, it would continue to fund the moneys, the $58 billion, that the Liberals put into health care. Health care was the number one issue then and it is the number one issue today.
There is one other area, as I mentioned, that relates to the U.K. investing in scientific research, and that is that there has been very little investment in R and D. Everybody talks about getting their economies going and competing in the new economy by investing in R and D. R and D can only develop new jobs if we invest the money up front. Yes, it costs money initially, but as they say, we have to spend a dollar to make a dollar, and we know very well that the new Conservative government has not done that.
I will refer to an article, the headline of which reads, “Researchers disappointed by funding for innovation. Just keeps the lights on”. I am quoting; I am not being political, which I choose never to do. I choose to refer to statements made by others so people know it is not my biased comments as a Liberal member of Parliament but what Canadians or others, the foot soldiers, in this case the researchers, are saying. The article states:
Peter MacLeod, a fellow at the Centre for the Study of Democracy at Queen's University, says “much of the funding promised to various agencies will do little more than “keep the lights on”.
There was some money; I am not saying there was not. How can we look forward to competing for the jobs of the future when the government budgets have not made any significant investments?
Why are we falling behind? Other nations are making investments and we are failing to do so. Here we are, a country that was miles ahead of all these other nations in terms of eight consecutive balanced Liberal budgets and tremendous surpluses. The last one, if I recall, when the Liberals lost office in 2006 was just over $13 billion.
The government gloats about our economy being in a good state and that we are better off than everybody else. That is true. So why are we not making the right investments? For example, Canada is still lagging quite badly. The United States spent $594 million in 2009, Australia spent $123.5 million, and Canada spent $19 million. How can we compete?
We all know the difficulties the United States is going through. Speaking of the United States, it even went through some updating of its health care system. Even Sarah Palin commented about our health care system. She used it. She got that right. The only thing she got wrong was mixing up North Korea and South Korea. The fact is she confirmed that we do have a better health care system, a system which she and her family used.
If we are not going to make the right investments in R and D, we are going to miss out on the jobs of the future. For example, China, the world's biggest polluter, has now become the world's number one green energy investor. China is putting its money where its mouth is. It is investing. Yes, China pollutes, but it is now saying that it has to address this horrendous issue. China invested $34.5 billion in 2009 on low carbon energy technologies. I applaud China. I am not saying we have to invest $34.5 billion, but surely to God we can make some decent investments.
We are missing out on the jobs of the future because we are not making the right kinds of investments. We see the United Kingdom making these investments, even though its books are in a worse mess than ours.
Of course with the health care system, which I believe needs modernization, that 10-year arrangement is coming to an end and Canadians are going to keep an eye on the government to see what its next step will be. One would think that as we were getting close to the renewal of the agreement, the government would commence discussions with the provinces, with the professionals, with the stakeholders. At least we asked Mr. Romanow to do a study. He delivered his findings and we responded. That agreement is coming to an end and the government has not even begun discussions. I worry about that.
The disappointments with the government are so many that I do not know where to begin.
My colleague talked about the $5,000 tax-free savings account. That is a good initiative, but given the circumstances today, one would ask how many families can put aside $5,000, and those are after-tax dollars. Not too many Canadians can do that because they are hurting. Maybe the very rich can do it and if they can, I have no qualms about it. Good luck to them. It is the right thing to do. The fact is that average Canadians cannot do it and there are no other initiatives to support these families. Why? Job losses are still occurring. Yes, there are little spurts of a few jobs here and there. We know the economy is not really growing. We also know that new jobs are not being created as fast as was projected by the government. The finances of the nations are not where they could be or should be. I will address that as well.
Canadians today do not have the confidence. Why do they not have the confidence? They are being told one thing and others are showing up.
For example, today we are faced with a $56.5 billion or $57 billion deficit from last year. The government actually projected that it was going to be about $52.2 billion or $53.3 billion. The Conservatives were off by almost $2 billion on their projections. At this time of the year, the Conservatives are saying it is going to be about another $55 billion or $56 billion, for a total deficit of about $110 billion. It is unheard of.
All the average Canadian has to do is go back a short 16 or 17 years and he or she will realize that our deficit was $42.3 billion. Seventeen years down the road, the deficit has more than doubled and there is no economic growth. There is no job growth. There is less revenue to pay down this deficit.
The upcoming budget will be the government's fourth one. It reminds me of the Brian Mulroney days. When the Mulroney Conservatives were in government for nine years, they did not meet one budget target.Year after year, they told us what they would spend but never met that target. As a result, the debt kept growing and, in 1993, we did what we had to do. We did the responsible thing, things that the U.K , Ireland and Greece are doing today. We hear that Portugal, Spain and other countries in the European Union are next in line. They are going through these austerity programs. They are doing today what we did responsibly.
Therefore, when the government of today stands and says that we slashed and burned, I want to remind it that the Conservative Harris government of the day and Ralph Klein were doing the same thing. We had no choice. It was sink or swim, as they say.
The fortunate thing is that we made the right investments in the new economy, for example, in R and D. We invested in education. We invested in small and medium size enterprises, which means they started generating jobs. People were paying into the system. Another important thing is that we were lowering payroll taxes.
The government talks about lowering taxes. I challenge it publicly when it says that it lowered taxes because it did not lower taxes. It said that it would raise taxes by 1.5% and then it said that, no, it would decrease that to 0.5%. However, 0.5% is still an increase and the government is trying to pass it off that it lowered taxes. It is still a burden on the employer and the employee. It does not entice employers to invest in new tools, in new equipment or in new hires. It de-motivates them. If Canadians are not working, they do not have earning power nor do they have purchasing power, which means goods and services taxes are not being collected, for example, that would go to invest in health care, in post-secondary education, in housing, et cetera. It is a cycle, if we look at it.
With regard to gas, my constituents are complaining they are paying an average of $1.10 or $1.12 a litre. Just a couple of years ago, the barrel was on the market at about $148 to $150 and gas at the pump was 85¢ to 90¢. Today, my constituents are saying that barrels of gas may be $80 at the most and are asking, why they are paying $1.10 a litre.
The point I want to make on the gas is that the current government also made another promise. It said that anything over 85¢ per litre it would take off the taxes. It has not done so.
Am I leading into promises made and promises not kept? I really do not want to do that. My speech today is not political in any way. It is more so to point out the frustrations of Canadians. What they want to know is how they can trust the government to manage the economy well.
One gentleman said to me that, at the end of the day, the debt is going higher and the deficit is getting out of control. Per capita, we are one of the most burdened nations at about $42,000 per person in comparison to Greece that is at $31,000 per person. That gentleman said that we were more in debt than those guys are and wanted to know how we were better off.
We could go on for hours.The government has lost its priorities. Two out of three Canadians have not given the Conservatives their vote primarily because they cannot depend upon them and y cannot trust them because they say one thing and they do another. They talk about lowering taxes and yet they are increasing taxes. The only taxes they have decreased are the corporate taxes.
It is not that I am against that, but it is a timing thing. We keep reducing those corporate taxes year after year when the nation is hurting today. It is times like this when the gas companies, for example, need to come on board and say that they will help the average Canadian. It is times like this where everybody comes together as a family and it becomes a give-and-take for the good of the nation.
When we look at what the government did with airport taxes and at what happened with the seniors and the GIS, it is shameful. When we look at the lack of investments in R and D, that is shameful. When we are looking at the government spending $16 billion in untendered contracts, surely to God that is unacceptable. What will Canada's benefit be from that?
Canada has spent over $23 billion so far in Afghanistan, and now we are going to—
View John Cannis Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John Cannis Profile
2010-11-30 13:24 [p.6621]
Mr. Speaker, I have three sensitive spots. One is for our seniors, another is for our veterans and our men and women in uniform, and the other one is for our youth. For those of us in between, we will somehow found our way.
That is why I often talk about the obligation we have to our seniors. I will touch on the other two areas later. I did not hear a lot of complaints, and I do not mean this in a biased way, when the Liberals were in government for almost 11, 12 years. We used to hear complaints but we were making the right investments.
As we managed to turn the economy around, we invested, and I call it an investment rather than an obligation, in our seniors. Housing was a great investment. Contracts were signed.
Just before we lost the government 2006 for various reasons, and the member knows what I am talking about, I believe—
View John Cannis Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John Cannis Profile
2010-11-30 13:26 [p.6621]
Sure. The NDP agreed to be in a coalition with the Conservatives to overthrow the government. That was the first coalition.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View John Cannis Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John Cannis Profile
2010-11-30 13:26 [p.6621]
Mr. Speaker, I was asked a question and I had to respond.
The first coalition in Canadian government was that of the NDP agreeing with the Conservatives to overthrow the government.
Now I will get back to this. That is why we had the NDP amendment, the budget, which allocated almost $1.-something billion to housing, to post-secondary education, to seniors, et cetera.
What can I say?
View John Cannis Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John Cannis Profile
2010-11-30 13:28 [p.6622]
Mr. Speaker, for the benefit of my hon. friend, English was my first language when I grew up in downtown Toronto on Walton Street and Greek became my second language later.
The member is right. The Conservatives are revisionists. They do brag. However, by using their own statistics I will point out how wrong they are.
The Conservatives did make an investment in debt retirement when they first took over. They plunked the surplus down on debt reduction. They inherited a $501 billion debt from us and they brought it down to $460 billion. According to their own graft, by 2014-15 that debt will have grown to $622.1 billion. It will actually be higher with the most recent figures. In other words, the Conservatives will have added $120 billion to the debt in a short period of time. That is unheard of. They are burdening not just today's youth but tomorrow's future as well. I point to our House of Commons pages because this debt will be on their backs more so than on ours.
I just pointed out that the Conservatives inherited balanced books. However, as of next year, we will have a $100 billion deficit, and amount unheard of. What can the Conservatives be proud of? They have nothing to be proud of.
View John Cannis Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John Cannis Profile
2010-11-30 13:31 [p.6622]
Mr. Speaker, I am proud to say that before China, Germany, the U.K. and other countries showed the light, the Liberal government made record investments in R and D. Genome is one example but there are many others.
I remember discussing the aerospace act in the House when John Manley was the parliamentary secretary. We made the right investments. We invested in the Canadarm, and the list goes on. We were ahead of the game.
I gave examples in my speech of China, Australia and the United States. The United States, although burdened with high debt and deficits, made those investments but not the Conservative government, as was pointed out by professionals. I quoted a gentleman who said that all this does is keep the lights on. We have failed in this area. When other nations are investing in new jobs and jobs of the future, they are doing the right thing and we should look to them as examples.
I do not use scare tactics. I am only talking to the pages simply because it is their future and their country, but--
View John Cannis Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John Cannis Profile
2010-11-30 17:03 [p.6649]
Mr. Speaker, the NDP member said in his opening statement that he was going to address the viewing public. He asked why the Liberals continue to allow the government to survive. No matter what, he wants us to defeat the government. That is not a new statement. They wanted us to do that right after the last election.
The member says he wants to be responsible to Canadian taxpayers, that he does not want to waste money. Canadians have repeatedly told us that we must work together. We could not afford an election a year and a half ago. An election would cost over $500,000,000, in these trying and challenging times. Canadians are asking us to try to work things out. The NDP is saying it wants us to defeat the government, that it does not matter.
We do not disagree with what the member said about the airport tax and the cost.
Does my colleague think there would be some benefit if we defeated the government? What would the outcome be? Everybody is predicting that if an election were held now we would have another minority government, whether it be Liberal or Conservative.
I will tell the member, once and for all, we did not defeat the government because we chose to be responsible and we listened to Canadians. We do not believe that wasting more than half a billion dollars would get a different result. With the NDP, it is easy come, easy go. Maybe last night's election is a reflection of Canadians' distrust of the NDP.
View John Cannis Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John Cannis Profile
2010-10-25 12:48 [p.5264]
Mr. Speaker, I was listening closely to the member from Hamilton Mountain and I would like some clarification, although I am sure she might give some later on. She must have been telling the Minister of Justice and Attorney General that she was advocating the three strikes and you are out policy. If that is the case, then I am wondering why her party has not supported the crime and justice legislation in the past like we have. When we are trying to make amendments, make things tighter and respond to the call of Canadians on various issue, all of a sudden I hear this and it kind of shocks me.
I will now move on to speak to Bill S-9. I listened earlier to my Liberal colleague from Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine and her perspective on this legislation. I also listened very carefully to what the Bloc Québécois member from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie had to say. Some of the comments I heard from the Liberal speaker and the Bloc speaker were very constructive. However, some of the comments from the NDP puzzled and shocked me as to where it was coming from.
Bill S-9, an act to amend the Criminal Code (auto theft and trafficking in property obtained by crime), is important. I agree with the comments that were made earlier that this type of initiative was before the House back in 2006. Why it took so long is beyond us, but, of course, we did have prorogation and we did have elections that the Prime Minsiter called prematurely.
I and I know my constituents would have thought that one of the first pieces of legislation, along with so many other important pieces of legislation, would have been this type of legislation, seeing what the numbers are out there. We heard some of the numbers earlier today. When we discuss these numbers, it is very difficult to talk about where the numbers in auto theft are higher. I think every member who sits in this honourable House has great respect, whether it is in the provinces of Manitoba, Quebec, P.E.I., Ontario, or in my lovely city of Toronto, but at the same time we need to talk about these statistics, where they come from and where they are accumulated so that the resources could be attached to them as legislation will be applied.
For example, the member from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie gave us some statistics about the recovery percentages in Ontario as opposed to Quebec and how they were much higher in Ontario. Also, auto theft as a whole in Ontario is quite less than most other provinces. That just goes to take away the notion that Toronto has high crime rates. That is not the case in auto theft crimes and I want to put that on record.
Nevertheless, as we talk about crime in general, one crime is one too many, which is why, as my Liberal colleague said earlier, we want to support this legislation. I, for one, on behalf of my constituents in Scarborough Centre, in the city of Toronto and in the province, want to support this legislation. We want to see it go to committee because we believe some good work and good suggestions could be made in committee to fine-tune this bill so that we can finally get a bill out there to do the work that Canadians have asked us to do, which is to tighten up the Criminal Code.
I would like to point out what I think are faults with some of the suggestions in this bill.
The bill would make it a crime to alter, destroy or remove a VIN, vehicle identification number. The member spoke earlier of the significance of it, the role that it plays and how important it is. It would also make it a crime to knowingly sell, give, transfer, transport, send or deliver goods that have been acquired criminally.
We heard earlier today from other speakers about how people steal a car, take it apart and sell different parts or put a car in a crate and ship it abroad. They also can change the vehicle identification number with what was described as a makeover. The member talked about three specific areas: chopping, exporting and the makeover. The bill addresses those specific areas.
The bill would make it a crime to possess property known to be obtained through crime for the purpose of trafficking. For example, if people who need a door, a bumper or an auto part goes to an autobody shop to buy a door for x amount of dollars, knowing very well what the market price is, the moment they pay 30% to 50% less their antenna should go up. They should ask themselves why, if they go to the depot and pay so much, this person is charging so little. Those people should immediately step away from that transaction because they will also be subject to a criminal charge if this legislation is passed.
If everyone who engages in that type of exchange avoids it, then hopefully there will be no market for it. In the early nineties, there was a huge underground cigarette economy. Revenue for the country was down because of loss of taxes and there was a free fall for everyone. I say quite proudly that when we took office we lowered the federal taxes on cigarettes and all of a sudden we eliminated that underground economy. How can we eliminate the selling or chopping of parts? We can do it through legislation and the notification to purchasers of said parts. If they know they could be fined and imprisoned, they will avoid buying, which means it would eliminate a market for that area.
The Canada Border Services has a very important role to play. We have seen documentaries where a car is put in a container on a boat and then shipped somewhere across the ocean. We need to be able to provide Canada Border Services with the right type of technology so it can monitor the containers. However, we must remember that not all cars in containers are put there illegally. Some Canadians may decide to get employment outside the country and they put their cars in containers and ship them to wherever their new job is.
However, along the way I think there is technology today that can help Canada Border Services do a better job in pre-screening to ensure that stolen autos leaving the country is addressed as well.
The Liberal Party has always supported legislation to effectively reduce any type of crime. This is one type of crime. My colleague from Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine has often talked about what is unacceptable and hurting, if I may say, is that when legislation comes forward on crime and justice issues, sometimes the Conservatives say that we Liberals stand for the criminals. That is not true.
Hon. Marlene Jennings: And they know it.
Mr. John Cannis: Of course they know it.
My colleague from Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, who spoke earlier today, stood and, over and over again, said that we must punish where punishment is warranted and we must protect when protection is warranted, but that we need to do it in the Canadian way, in a fair way. That is why, with the member's suggestion as the critic, and I agree, the bill must go to committee. I am confident some good ideas will come forward to make some changes.
Our caucus will not play politics with this type of legislation. We will move forward and support it but we will not stand for any slogans. For example, I remember the member for Portage—Lisgar on the gun issue. The other day we heard personal attacks on our colleagues who did not support the gun legislation.
Last night I was watching a documentary on Lee Atwater and some of the tactics that he used during the Bush senior campaign when he talked against Dukakis and about how all criminals vote for Democrats and all good Americans vote for Republicans.
The one thing that hurt me a lot in the most recent debates on the gun legislation was that criminals vote for Liberals and police officers vote for Conservatives. That is just nasty, untrue and uncalled for. When we want to move forward to protect the nation, it is unnecessary.
We sit in committee to do the good work that we know we can do and that we are paid to do and should do for the good of Canadians.
I am glad this has created a separate offence within the Criminal Code. It was long overdue and it is necessary.
What I sometime find unacceptable is the people they use to sell or to participate in car theft, for example, young delinquents, young offenders as we might describe them. I might ask the committee to look into that because criminals could be stealing these cars, chopping them, trying to sell them or export them and the middle person, as he or she is often referred to, could be a young man who may be going through some difficulty in life and all of a sudden a few quick dollars are flashed in front of him and he is told to drive the car or chop off the VIN number and so on. We know very well what the Criminal Code is in reference to young offenders, and I am concerned. I am putting this on the table so that when the bill goes to committee it could possibly look into that as well.
I am pleased that since 2006, when the last data was brought forward, it showed that auto theft was on a decline, as overall crime stats were in a decline.
I remember very well in 1991-92, when I sought the nomination and won in the election of 1993, that one of the key issues was that we needed to address the crime issue and we needed to make our streets safer. I made a commitment to my constituents, and I am pleased to say that I have upheld that promise to this very day, that we would do whatever we could. We did make changes to section 745 of the Criminal Code.
Today, when an impact statement is allowed in the Williams case, that is because Liberal governments brought it forward. When there is an opportunity for a declaration of a dangerous offender, that was a Liberal initiative that brought it forward. Long term offender was also a Liberal initiative.
Do we know everything? I would say no. Does the Conservative Party have a monopoly on crime legislation? No. We all, in our own conscience, want to do the right thing. That is why I said earlier and our critic also said that we will support the bill and send it committee where some good work will be done.
I am pleased that under our tenure, under a Liberal government between 1993 to 2006, the crime stats as a whole were coming down. However, I am sad that in areas such as Manitoba and Montreal the car theft stats are up. However, I want to assure Canadians in Manitoba and in Montreal that we want to work together to address this issue and solve it, as the member from Bloc Québécois said earlier.
The Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers is opposed to the bill as it believes it would limit judicial discretion. Quite frankly, I do not know. That puzzles me in some way. I need more clarification on what it means by that. I am not a lawyer, by education, so I will not pretend to know as much as the lawyers. However, I do know one thing. The average Canadian wants it in a very simple way. Maybe the council could explain, in a simple way, what it means by that so we can address its concerns.
The Canadian Association of Crown Counsel is also opposed to the bill. It believes it would add more work to an already overwrought system, without any mention or apparent intention to add resources to support the legislation. That was brought up earlier.
I also have that concern. Legislation is good. I will point out two things. It is good provided we enforce it and we provide the tools, but then we ask the judiciary, for example, to enforce the legislation. In order to enforce the legislation, we need the resources to do so.
Today, unfortunately, we are strapped with a $56 billion deficit, but as high a record deficit as it is, it will go higher. The economy has not yet really kicked in to try to generate jobs, wealth creation and security. If we have a healthy economy, then people are occupied or preoccupied with work as opposed to committing criminal acts, such as auto theft, for example.
Yes, the deficits are going up. Yes, it is a burden. Yes, it is a cost. However, at the end of the day, we, as a civil society, have to find that money because we are trying to keep our streets, our communities and our cities safe. How much is that worth? In my humble opinion, we really cannot put a value on that. Part of this whole process of funds is also rehabilitation. It is not just charging people who committed auto theft or burglary. It is also taking them at the early stages and working with them.
When it comes to resources that were identified by the Crown counsel, I agree with them, and I am going to ask the government to try to find the means and the ways to address the financial needs.
Various mayors and other people who have supported the bill were mentioned earlier such as the Insurance Bureau of Canada. Another burden is the insurance costs. A young man or a young woman graduating from college or university needs a car to get to work and the insurance costs are high. Why are they high? Simply because of some of these thefts, for example, that impede the system, the recovery process and whatnot.
I am thankful for the legislation and any legislation that will help keep our streets safe. Issues such as these are not a monopoly to any specific party or any specific person. I always have believed, and will continue to believe, that these issues are important to each and every one of us, no matter from what part of the country we come. If one part of the country is having some difficulties, as was mentioned earlier today, Manitoba, Quebec, or Montreal, we have an obligation to step in and do what we can.
View John Cannis Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John Cannis Profile
2010-10-19 14:09 [p.5058]
Mr. Speaker, this month the Republic of Cyprus is celebrating its 50th year of independence. However, this independence as an integral country was short-lived, for in July 1974 an illegal invasion took place by Turkish forces, which occupy, until this very day, one-third of the island.
In the 21st century, this is unacceptable. It is unacceptable for a nation that is a member of the European Union to be illegally occupied by a nation that is also an applicant for membership to the same European Union. It makes no sense.
What is Cyprus then asking for? Cyprus is asking for nothing more than what any civilized nation is also asking: to have the right to live in peace within a secure, united and sovereign territory, recognizing the rights of all its citizens.
Cyprus must be, and deserves to be, a free and united country in which it is the right of all Cypriots, whatever their denomination, to live in peace.
View John Cannis Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John Cannis Profile
2010-10-07 10:36 [p.4862]
Mr. Speaker, I listened very carefully to my friend, the parliamentary secretary.
He talked about how much better off we are than most industrialized countries. He talked about how we have come out of the crisis quite well. He used different quotes, but he did not quote the average Canadian.
Today according to the OECD, average Canadians have among the highest debt per capita, almost $41,000. When we compare that with some countries that are in grave difficulty, like Greece for example, we find their debt per household is just over $30,000. Let us figure that out.
The member talked about tax savings accounts and all the government has done, and that is fine when the average Canadian has money to save. However, to come out of this debt, average Canadians have borrowed to survive.
What would the member say to all those Canadians who are so far in debt and who have indebted their future and their children's future? Where do they go from there? What would he say to them?
View John Cannis Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John Cannis Profile
2010-10-07 13:57 [p.4889]
Madam Speaker, when I get up again after question period, I will pick up on where the member left off. The Conservatives talk about raising taxes. On EI, for example, they say they will not raise the premium a certain amount, but then turn around and raise it less than that amount. That is the same as a store that offers a special 50% discount, but it jacks up the price by 100% and then lowers it by 50%, and says that it is giving a 50% discount. That is what the Conservatives did with EI. Later on I will point out what they have done. The Conservatives have tried to pass it on to Canadians as a tax break, but in essence it is a tax hike.
We cannot support these initiatives. It boils down to a matter of trust. We simply cannot trust what the government says. The Conservatives say one thing but do another. For example, the Prime Minister promised in writing not to tax income trusts. He used that in his campaign. One of the first things he did when elected to office was to renege on that promise. I cannot use the word “lie” because that is unparliamentary language, but I can use the word “renege”. He reneged on his agreement. It boils down to a matter of trust.
With respect to EI premiums, I have a quote from the finance minister who said, “It's one of those job-killing taxes, a direct tax on employers and employees”.
An hon. member: Who said that?
Mr. John Cannis: The current finance minister said that, Mr. Speaker. What has he done? Again, I cannot use the word “lie”, but he has reneged on his commitment. He said his government would increase it by $90 but then said it would only be increased by $30. He then told Canadians that it was a tax decrease. I do not know where the finance minister learned his math.
Mr. Speaker, I look forward to continuing my speech after question period.
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