April 7, 1987


A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 66 deemed to have been moved.


ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE-CONFIDENCE IN SYSTEM-MINISTER'S POSITION

PC

Alan Redway

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Alan Redway (York East):

Mr. Speaker, I do not know that I have ever asked you what it is that makes you wake up in the morning. I would like to know what it is. Perhaps it is the sunlight that streams through the window in the morning. Perhaps it is an alarm clock; or perhaps it is a clock-radio.

Personally, Mr. Speaker, I am awakened by a clock-radio, and more often than not, it is not soft music that I awaken to but a loud authoritative news voice giving me some news and some comment, and usually the news, or at least part of it, includes a description of some very grisly crime that has occurred, and that authoritative news voice is telling me that we should be bringing back capital punishment. It berates those who oppose capital punishment or who are wavering a little on capital punishment in any way, shape or form.

April 7, 1987

Adjournment Debate

Last summer, Mr. Speaker, I, along with people right across Canada, woke up to news reports about a little girl in Toronto by the name of Allison Parrot. We first heard reports about her disappearance, and then we heard reports about her grisly murder.

This authoritative news voice kept telling us that we should be bringing back the death penalty. As a result of that urging, and all of those reports, there was in my constituency office, my office in Ottawa and my home, a deluge of requests to bring back the death penalty. I had an inundation of letters and telephone calls urging me to support the return of the death penalty, all the time pointing out that for many years the polls reflected support for the return of capital punishment.

Mr. Speaker, why is it that that happens so regularly? I do not know about you, Mr. Speaker, but I personally believe that that feeling was reflected in the comments of the Minister of Justice (Mr. Elnatyshyn) and the Attorney General of the Province of Ontario, and more recently in the comments of the Chairman of the Canadian Sentencing Commission, all of whom have said that Canadians have lost confidence in our criminal justice system.

The recent vigilante killings by store owners in Calgary and Montreal are yet further illustrations of that very point, that feeling of frustration on the part of the Canadian people. The Minister of Justice, as you will recall, Mr. Speaker, also said that vigilante system is unacceptable; that a "Charles Bronson" system of justice is unacceptable.

I agree with those statements, Mr. Speaker, and I know you do, too. But, Mr. Speaker, it is the job of the Minister of Justice, the job of the provincial Attorneys General, to ensure that we have a system of justice in which Canadians can have confidence. Canadians must have confidence in their criminal justice system.

What is being done about it, Mr. Speaker? Of course, we are going to have a free vote on the issue of capital punishment. But, is that the answer? I doubt that you think so, Mr. Speaker, and I do not think so either. I believe that if the former Government, a Government that was in power for 15 years or more, had taken some action to tighten up the bail laws, as well as the sentencing and parole laws, we would not have this problem now, and Canadians would in fact have confidence in the criminal justice system.

Mr. Speaker, you know as well as I do that the present Government-bless it-cannot escape blame, either. Canadians voted for a change in September of 1984, and here we are today, insofar as the criminal justice system is concerned, and very little has been changed. In fact, we seem to be following the same old agenda. Perhaps it is the Liberal agenda, perhaps it is a bureaucratic agenda, but it is not the agenda of Canadians. Canadians know that between the years 1976 and 1985 violent crime increased 25.7 per cent in the country. They want the criminal justice system to be tightened up. I believe that public opinion polls would be very different now on the

question of capital punishment if steps had been taken to tighten up the criminal justice system.

Irrespective of whether capital punishment is brought back, Canadians want the system tightened up. The Minister of Justice would not have to worry about a vigilante or a Charles Bronson system of justice or about the confidence of Canadians in the criminal justice system if he would only tighten up the bail laws, sentencing, and parole.

The Minister and the Government have had some 2.5 years to do it. However, there are 2.5 years left in the mandate of the Government. That is enough time for the Minister of Justice to take some decisive action in this area so that he can leave a legacy of which he can be proud, of which I can be proud, and of which Canadians can be proud.

I am looking forward to hearing from the Parliamentary Secretary tonight that the Minister of Justice is about to take some decisive action and to leave a legacy of which all of us could be proud.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE-CONFIDENCE IN SYSTEM-MINISTER'S POSITION
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PC

François Gérin (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Francois Gerin (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada):

First of all. Mr. Speaker, I must congratulate the Hon. Member for raising this issue and for his remarks. I know that he is deeply concerned about this issue, having advocated these principles ever since his election. I must say that fortunately some Hon. Members devote their time and energy promoting major issues. It is true that the system we have inherited must be changed and changed thoroughly, but these changes cannot happen overnight. They can only be carried out following a rather extensive consultation. And we started this extensive consultation the moment we came to power in September 1984, something of which the Hon. Member is well aware for having contributed to it.

And this consultation has started to pay off. For instance, two weeks ago, the Canadian Sentencing Commission tabled its report which indicated what a great many people knew already, namely, that there are differences in sentencing for the same crimes which people just cannot understand. That is why they answer in various polls that they no longer understand the system. Referring for instance to the various examples given by my hon. friend concerning the perception which people have of the criminal justice system and especially the vigilante type of justice, we realize that people do not quite understand the principle of necessary force involved in cases of legitimate defence. As much as 68 per cent of poll respondents were quoted at saying that a vigilante type of justice could be legitimate under certain circumstances. But if they have been asked a different question, such as: Would you agree that the victim should use more force than necessary? Well, I am sure most Canadians would have said no.

So it would seem that Criminal Code provisions as worded may lead to confusion. People should be better informed

April 7, 1987

through publicity, and for the benefit of the general public- with more forthcoming co-operation from our provincial colleagues-we might try to make the Criminal Code more readily understandable.

Of course we must point out that the Law Reform Commission is doing very important research with respect to sentencing delimitation. Later this fall it will present a report on release in an attempt to simplify the system and make it easier for people to understand the whole process, so perhaps in this case the conclusion will be that when somebody is given a three-year sentence, indeed he should not be released after serving six months.

But this can only be done after consultation, including the work done by the Hon. Member as well his questions and comments, and then likely by next fall or sometime next year the Government, under its mandate, will be in a position to make certain recommendations which should considerably improve the system, and more particularly the public perception of the Canadian judiciary system.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE-CONFIDENCE IN SYSTEM-MINISTER'S POSITION
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THE CONSTITUTION-REQUEST FOR INCLUSION OF PROPERTY RIGHTS

PC

James Kenneth (Jim) Jepson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jim Jepson (London East):

Mr. Speaker, in September 1985 and on March 11, 1987 I raised the question of the inclusion of property rights in the Charter concerning the very grave oversight on the part of the Liberal Government when it drew up the Charter revisions.

I do not think there is any Canadian living in Canada who would hold one particular right more dearly to his or her heart than the right to own property. There are many individuals who have chosen Canada as their new home because of the freedoms that we enjoy to work hard and to acquire wealth and property.

Now that we have been in office for two and a half years, I feel it is time to bring this important matter to the front burner. I urge the Minister to address this matter as quickly as possible with his provincial counterparts. We all know that to make this change requires the approval of the majority of the provinces.

In response to my question, the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada (Mr. Hnatyshyn) said he will be dealing with the matter, but the purpose of my speaking again this evening is to reinforce how important property rights are, not only to me as a Member of Parliament, but to my constituents and constituents right across the land. I urge the Minister to give this matter his urgent attention and include property rights in the Charter in order to make that Charter complete.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   THE CONSTITUTION-REQUEST FOR INCLUSION OF PROPERTY RIGHTS
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PC

François Gérin (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Francois Gerin (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to assure the Hon. Member of our sympathy for the entrenchment of property rights in the Constitution. He is

Adjournment Debate

aware of the long record of support of the Conservative Party for property rights. In 1960, the Progressive Conservative Government under the leadership of the late former Prime Minister, the Right Hon. John G. Diefenbaker, introduced the Canadian Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights provides protections for property rights at the federal level. In particular, it protects the right of every individual to the enjoyment of property and the right not to be deprived thereof, except by due process of law. Since the introduction of the Canadian Bill of Rights, we have continued to advocate property rights. In the process leading up to the patriation of the Constitution and after, we pressed the Liberal Government to add property rights to the Constitution.

It was in this context that the previous Attorney General of Canada asked the Attorneys General of the provinces last year to establish a working group of officials to examine the entrenchment of property rights. The Attorneys General agreed, and a working group was established. Women's groups, aboriginal people, environment groups and provincial Governments have expressed concerns about the impact of entrenching property rights and about legal uncertainties relating to property rights. The working group is analysing these questions. I understand that the working group is making good progress and it will be reporting to the Attorneys General in due course.

Last August in their Edmonton declaration the provincial Premiers specifically asked that the question of Quebec and the Constitution be dealt with first before we deal with any other matters of constitutional reform and they specifically included in these the matter of property rights. At the conclusion of their annual conference in Vancouver last November, the First Ministers of the provinces reiterated their view that there should be another stage following the present round of discussions to deal with other matters, including property rights.

An amendment to the Constitution would require the assent of at least seven provinces and the assent of at least 50 per cent of the population of the provinces. The Hon. Member will appreciate that we wish to co-operate with the provinces as their agreement on the matter of property rights is essential. The current round of constitutional discussions is not over yet so we do not have a definite schedule for the next round of discussions. However, the matter of property rights is progressing with the efforts of the working group on property rights.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   THE CONSTITUTION-REQUEST FOR INCLUSION OF PROPERTY RIGHTS
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HUMAN RIGHTS-EAST TIMOR-INVASION BY INDONESIAN TROOPS. (B) REQUEST FOR REPRESENTATIONS TO UNITED NATIONS

LIB

Roland de Corneille

Liberal

Mr. Roland de Corneille (Eglinton-Lawrence):

Mr. Speaker, on February 17, I asked the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Clark) a question on behalf of a pathetic, suffering, tortured population in a little section of a little island called East Timor and a little section of another little island called Irian Jaya, some 500 kilometres North of

April 7, 1987

Adjournment Debate

Australia. These people have been crushed under the boots of an oppressive dictatorship in Indonesia. I asked the Minister politely without innuendo or sarcasm of any kind the following question:

Mr. Speaker, the Secretary of State for External Affairs knows that Canada has allotted $300 million in aid through CIDA to Indonesia over a five-year period. In fact, that represents the fourth largest Canadian aid program in all of Asia. How can the Government continue to ignore the fact that Indonesia has invaded East Timor with 40,000 troops and is conducting "Operation Extinction", which is tantamount to genocide? What kind of representations will the Secretary of State for External Affairs make to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, Dr. Mochtar, who is in Ottawa at the present time?

The Minister's reply included the following remarks:

It would be a change in the basis of his representations in the House, if they were based on fact.

He went on to say:

I would invite the Hon. Member, rather than relying upon the editorial opinion of The Globe and Mail, to learn the facts for himself and to avoid making accusations which he cannot support with facts.

Instead of treating this question with sympathy, the Secretary of State for External Affairs had to resort to personal attacks on the questioner. This is a sad regression and a breach of the promise the Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney) made for a new era of civility. In any case, insults will not change the suffering of those people nor will it stop my determination to bring their tragedy to the attention of the House and the Canadian people.

In the House of Commons, I asked the Secretary of State for External Affairs to make representations to the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Dr. Mochtar. The Minister replied that these arguments are exaggerated. I asked him to make representations on behalf of the indigenous people at the Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva and he told me that unless I went to see for myself, I should not make accusations I could not support with facts. This is an incredible reply in view of the record of Indonesia and the reports which are a shocking indictment of human rights violations in East Timor as well as the fact that over 10,000 pathetic refugees from Irian Jaya have poured across the border into United Nations camps in Papua New Guinea.

Although the Red Cross is the only organization allowed into East Timor and is not even allowed into Irian Jaya, it is effectively muzzled because, as a humanitarian organization, it is not allowed to discuss anything except how many prisoners it could visit and the state of their care and rehabilitation. There are no other groups that the Indonesians will allow to enter East Timor or Irian Jaya.

When I was recently at the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, I was told about the refugees by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees. I was told about the atrocities by Amnesty International, Pax Christi, Pax Romana, the Canada-Asia working group of churches, the Australian Council for Overseas Aid, the International Christian Consultation on East Timor and of reports that were smuggled out to the members of the Pacific Conference of

Churches that met at Samoa. I spoke to delegates from France and Portugal who appealed to Indonesia to end its atrocities and who appealed as well to the International Red Cross and others in Geneva whose names I cannot mention because of their links to people within East Timor. However, they are extremely credible.

I also spoke to Indonesian delegates. They confirmed that they will not allow human rights organizations or churches into Irian Jaya or into East Timor because they only "come to make trouble and lie about us". They also refused to explain why over the years they have never replied to accusations made by the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

Whom should we believe? Should we believe the reports of these human rights organizations based on information from refugees and smuggled messages, reports that are reliable, or should we accept the reassurances of the Minister who bases his information on the reports of the Canadian Ambassador to Indonesia who, given the opportunity to see East Timor, said: "Things aren't as bad as they were and have been exaggerated"?

I would hope that this time I will receive a decent, concerned and respectful answer to this question which deals with human suffering. It deserves no less from the Government of Canada, a nation with a great record of concern for human rights when they are brought to our attention.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   HUMAN RIGHTS-EAST TIMOR-INVASION BY INDONESIAN TROOPS. (B) REQUEST FOR REPRESENTATIONS TO UNITED NATIONS
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PC

Jean-Guy Hudon (Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Jean-Guy Hudon (Parliamentary Secretary to Secretary of State for External Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to reply to my colleague concerning the question of East Tumor, a question which of course is at the origin of impassioned reactions. I wonder how Opposition Members invariably manage to question the sources of information on certain anomalies or problems which exist in the world.

Mr. Speaker, rumours about many losses of life in Timor are founded. They are indeed true. When people are in that state, Mr. Speaker, when there is a civil war, it is not the only reason, it is not simply indiscriminate killing of the population, but it is, and this was confirmed by the International Red Cross Committee in 1979-which by the way saved 70,000 people-famine, lack of shelter, disease, malnutrition which are causing the largest number of deaths.

Naturally, Mr. Speaker, during a civil war you can count all the casualties and say that they result strictly from that war. You can count that way, but that is not what I call violation of human rights. According to our reports, there are no such violations of human rights at the present time.

Mr. Speaker, the news we get and the information my colleague received, are, according to our own information, exaggerated. Following the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs from Indonesia there were reports in the Sunday Star and in The Ottawa Citizen which were far more balanced than the accusations first made.

April 7, 1987

Clearly, Canada is greatly concerned by the recurrent rumors about violations of human rights. However, we are not going to put an end to our programs simply because of unconfirmed rumors. We now have the assistance of the International Red Cross and some other international groups which keep us up to date, inform us of the most recent developments, and even the questions put by my colleague are not ignored. We try to get information, we are concerned, and Canada, Mr. Speaker, precisely because it has great respect

Adjournment Debate

for human rights, will do its utmost to see that these rights are respected the world over.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   HUMAN RIGHTS-EAST TIMOR-INVASION BY INDONESIAN TROOPS. (B) REQUEST FOR REPRESENTATIONS TO UNITED NATIONS
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PC

Marcel Danis (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 2 p.m. pursuant to Standing Order 3(1).

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   HUMAN RIGHTS-EAST TIMOR-INVASION BY INDONESIAN TROOPS. (B) REQUEST FOR REPRESENTATIONS TO UNITED NATIONS
Permalink

The House adjourned at 6.23 p.m.


APPENDIX


of


RONALD WILSON REAGAN


President of the United States of America to Both Houses of Parliament in the HOUSE OF COMMONS CHAMBER, OTTAWA on Monday, April 6, 1987



April 7, 1987


ADDRESS


of RONALD WILSON REAGAN President of the United States of America to Both Houses of Parliament in the HOUSE OF COMMONS CHAMBER, OTTAWA on Monday, April 6, 1987 The President was welcomed by the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, Prime Minister of Canada, and thanked by the Honourable Guy Charbonneau, Speaker of the Senate and Honourable John A. Fraser, Speaker of the House of Commons.


PC

John Allen Fraser (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. John A. Fraser (Speaker of the House of Commons):

Order, please.

Mr. President, we welcome you to this Chamber where the Canadian people are represented by Members of Parliament and Senators who comprise the Parliament of Canada.

We are honoured to have you in our midst.

I now invite the Right Honourable the Prime Minister to introduce our distinguished guest.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   ADDRESS
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April 7, 1987