November 17, 2004

CPC

Peter MacKay

Conservative

Mr. Peter MacKay (Central Nova, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I do not even know that I have to rise to that kind of ridiculous unparliamentary language. Surely you as the Speaker presiding over the House, who wants to maintain decorum would not permit a minister of the crown to stand up and call another member of Parliament a scumbag, as we have just witnessed from the minister.

I know that he will now be invited to retract that comment and I know that he will rise in his place laboriously and do that immediately.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Points of Order
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LIB

Reg Alcock

Liberal

Hon. Reg Alcock

Mr. Speaker, I am only too willing to retract the remark. I just wanted to clarify what I said.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Points of Order
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The Speaker

I am glad the hon. member has withdrawn the remark and we will consider the matter closed.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Points of Order
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LIB

Lucienne Robillard

Liberal

Hon. Lucienne Robillard (President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the annual report of the Public Service Integrity Officer, for the year 2003-04.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Public Service Integrity Officer
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IND

Chuck Cadman

Independent

Mr. Chuck Cadman (Surrey North, Ind.)

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-287, an act to amend the Criminal Code (vehicle identification number).

Mr. Speaker, I am reintroducing my bill to amend the Criminal Code with respect to auto crime by adding a section that makes tampering with a vehicle identification number, or VIN, a criminal offence. It makes it a criminal offence to alter, deface or remove a vehicle identification number.

For years police have been asking for this. Auto theft is a major problem in many Canadian cities and this simple amendment would provide law enforcement with another tool. Auto crime investigators need a Criminal Code section prohibiting the obliteration, alteration or removal of a vehicle identification number to combat auto theft rings operated by organized crime.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Criminal Code
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CPC

Gurmant Grewal

Conservative

Mr. Gurmant Grewal (Newton—North Delta, CPC)

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-288, an act respecting the protection of employees in the public service of Canada who on reasonable belief make allegations respecting wrongdoing in the public service of Canada.

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the people of Newton—North Delta and indeed all Canadians, I am reintroducing my private member's bill with respect to the protection of employees in the public service who, on reasonable belief, make allegations respecting wrongdoing in the public service.

This bill, written with the assistance of actual whistleblowers, is also known as the whistleblower rights and protection act. The public interest is served when employees are free to expose wrongdoing, waste and abuse within the public service without fear of retaliation and discrimination.

Whistleblowers should be praised and rewarded, not punished or harassed. They should not pay for their public service by putting their jobs on the line. My bill would offer them protection from retaliation. This bill is a very important one and all members of the House should support it.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Whistle Blower Rights and Protection Act
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CPC

James Moore

Conservative

Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, CPC)

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-289, an act to amend the Firearms Act (criteria for firearms licence).

Mr. Speaker, this bill brings into consideration whether or not anybody has been convicted of an offence under part III, section 264 of the Criminal Code, or has been discharged under section 730 of the Criminal Code. In essence this private member's bill would create a lifetime ban for firearms licence ownership for anybody convicted of a violent crime.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Firearms Act
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CPC

James Moore

Conservative

Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, CPC)

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-290, an act to amend the Criminal Code (consecutive sentences).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand in the House to introduce this bill. This is part of the Conservative Party of Canada's platform and is something which the vast majority of Canadians support, which is to hold violent criminals accountable for their actions.

The bill would mandate in law that violent criminals have consecutive, and not concurrent, sentencing for their crimes. It would hold people accountable. There would be no discount, where the more crimes are committed, the less time is served. Every crime deserves its punishment. The bill provides for consecutive sentencing, not concurrent sentencing, for violent criminals, and it is about time.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Criminal Code
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CPC

James Moore

Conservative

Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, CPC)

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-291, an act to amend the Criminal Code (weapons trafficking).

Mr. Speaker, unlike the firearms registry which the Liberals tout as real firearms control, what this bill does is it makes it a separate criminal offence and facilitates the distinction between possessing firearms and trafficking in firearms.It puts in place tougher penalties for people who illegally bring into the country firearms and ammunition that have been prohibited by the government.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Criminal Code
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CPC

James Moore

Conservative

Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, CPC)

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-292, an act to amend the Criminal Code (child pornography).

Mr. Speaker, this bill enforces a minimum sentence of two years in prison for persons convicted of transmitting, making available, distributing, selling, importing, exporting, or possessing child pornography for the purposes of transmission, making available, distribution, sale or exportation of any sort of child pornography.

The Liberals have talked for a long time about getting tough on child pornographers. This bill would put real teeth into our laws so that children would be safe from the people who would abuse them for the sake of child pornography.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Criminal Code
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IND

Chuck Cadman

Independent

Mr. Chuck Cadman (Surrey North, Ind.)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by 59 individuals. They are asking Parliament to amend the Canada Health Act to include, as medically necessary, therapy for children suffering from autism. The petitioners also ask Parliament to contribute to the creation of academic chairs at Canadian universities, chairs dedicated to the research and treatment of autism.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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LIB

Dominic LeBlanc

Liberal

Hon. Dominic LeBlanc (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Questions on the Order Paper
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The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Questions on the Order Paper
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Some hon. members

Agreed.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Questions on the Order Paper
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LIB

Dominic LeBlanc

Liberal

Hon. Dominic LeBlanc (Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers be allowed to stand.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Motions for Papers
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The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Motions for Papers
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Some hon. members

Agreed.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Motions for Papers
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LIB

Anne McLellan

Liberal

Hon. Anne McLellan (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.)

moved that Bill C-6, an act to establish the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and to amend or repeal certain acts, be read the third time and passed.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Act
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LIB

Roy Cullen

Liberal

Hon. Roy Cullen (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in support of Bill C-6, an act to establish the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and to amend or repeal certain acts.

First, I would like to congratulate the chair and the members of the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Over the past few weeks, the committee has had in-depth discussions on Bill C-6. These discussions allowed us to better understand the issues relating to public safety and emergency preparedness.

It became clear that the members of all the parties represented in the House of Commons share a deep and unfailing commitment to the safety of our country and its citizens.

Even though the government did not always agree with the comments made and the amendments proposed, we were aware that committee members were trying to make the bill as effective as possible.

I would also like to acknowledge the participation of the Privacy Commissioner who appeared as a witness at the committee hearings and also wrote directly to the minister. The Privacy Commissioner raised concerns about protecting the privacy of Canadians in the context of examining Bill C-6. She reminded us about the constant tension between privacy and other rights, including the right to security and how we need to strike an appropriate balance.

I would like to reiterate the minister's response to the Privacy Commissioner because I know many Canadians are concerned that the priorities of public safety may somehow compromise the privacy of personal information.

It is worth reminding the House that, like all legislation, Bill C-6 is subject to the Constitution and the Charter of Rights. We have drafted the legislation carefully to ensure that in the delivery of public safety, personal privacy is protected appropriately.

The proposed legislation provides no new legal authorities to collect, disclose or share information within or outside the agencies that are part of the Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness portfolio.

Indeed, the sole purpose of the provisions on the exchange of information is to ensure that all relevant and authorized information on public safety is communicated as it should be.

As the Auditor General pointed out last spring, Canada must be more efficient in the exchange of critical and timely information between the bodies that are responsible for our safety.

The proposed legislation would contribute to a better sharing of that information without infringing upon the privacy rights of Canadians in any way.

I would now like to comment briefly on the three amendments to the bill approved by the committee.

The first amendment concerns clause 5, the coordination and leadership of the Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness portfolio. The committee saw fit to approve an amendment that includes a non-exhaustive list of entities for which the minister is responsible. The government did not support the amendment.

We contended that modern legislation does not include all the various organizations that a portfolio may include. There are good reasons to respect this legal convention, particularly in the context of the responsibilities of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

In a rapidly evolving security environment, where the government needs the flexibility to respond to emerging threats by adjusting structures or creating new ones, we believe it made more sense not to list any entities.

Even if the list had been clearly illustrative, we feared the casual reader may still believe such a list constituted the complete portfolio. We were concerned that, despite the best of intentions, an incomplete list might therefore lead to confusion rather than clarity. We also argued that other acts clearly spell out relationships between the minister and various agencies, such as the RCMP. As a result, we saw no value added to be gained by including the names of some entities in clause 5 of Bill C-6.

I would also like to make clear that Bill C-6 does not give the government authority to add or subtract names from such a list. This authority comes from the Public Service Rearrangement and Transfer of Duties Act.

All that said, the government does respect the will of the committee and accepts the amendment as approved.

The second amendment, which was proposed by the Bloc, was also problematic and once again the government did not support it. The amendment concerns clause 6, which explains the functions of the minister. The clause was amended at committee to state explicitly that the minister would exercise his or her powers “...with due regard to the powers conferred on the provinces and territories...”.

In fact, the government has sufficient concern about the amendment that we sought an amendment at report stage to strike the wording from Bill C-6.

I would emphasize very clearly, however, that despite our concerns with this amendment, the Government of Canada fully understands that respect for provincial jurisdiction is a fundamental principle of our Constitution. It goes without saying that the Minister of Public Safety will continue to respect provincial jurisdiction in the exercise of her powers.

The public safety file is one on which there has been a strong history of cooperation between the federal government and the provinces. In fact, Bill C-6 contains a provision expressly calling for continued cooperation between the two levels of government.

As I indicated in my remarks in support of the government's amendment at report stage, the Bloc amendment to clause 6, in the view of both the minister and the government, is redundant and unnecessary. It is redundant because ministerial powers must be exercised within federal constitutional jurisdiction in any event. It is unnecessary because clause 4(1) of Bill C-6 already sets out that “...the powers, duties and functions of the Minister extend to and include all matters over which Parliament has jurisdiction...”. This wording establishes the scope of the powers of the minister under the Constitution and is the standard limiting formulation in departmental statutes. Clause 4(1) is a legislative drafting convention.

As members are aware, this matter was given full consideration and debate during report stage. In keeping with the principles of democracy that Canadians hold dearly, the hon. members in the House voted down the government's amendment at report stage and the government respects their decision.

The government will, therefore, treat the Bloc amendment to clause 6 as, at most, a for greater certainty clause, a reminder that the minister cooperates with provincial authorities in the exercise of their respective jurisdictions in areas of national and local importance.

In speaking to this matter at report stage, hon. members of both the Conservative and New Democratic Parties emphasized that the amendment pertaining to jurisdiction should not be viewed as precedent setting for other legislation, but rather, as indicated by the hon. member for Windsor—Tecumseh, amendments of this nature must be considered on a case by case basis. The government also endorses this approach for, as I indicated previously, how such an amendment would affect other legislation depends upon the very nature of the matter being legislated.

The third amendment deals with the last clause of the bill. Clause 38 is about the coming into force of the act. The committee felt that the original wording of that clause could allow the government to give effect to certain sections of the act at different times.

The purpose of the amendment was to ensure that all the provisions of the act, with the exception of sections 35 and 36, would come into force at the same time.

I am pleased to say that the amendment received all party support. This unanimity, to my mind, stands as a positive symbol for the cordial nature of the entire deliberations.

On that note, I would like to thank the committee members for their thoughtful analysis. Even if the government did not agree with all the proposed amendments, we never doubted for a moment that the committee had the best interests of Canadians at heart.

There can be no doubt that we must create the department of public safety and emergency preparedness. Our world, with its vast range of natural and man-made threats, demands a strategic and effective response to protect the safety and security of Canadians. The proposed legislation provides the necessary legal foundation for the department and it is my hope that, in the interests of all Canadians, it receive the full support of members of the House.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Act
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LIB

Reg Alcock

Liberal

Hon. Reg Alcock

Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of order. I said some things earlier in the House. I was caught up in some anger I felt about the kind of language that was used in the House and I was perhaps less than fulsome in my apology and withdrawal. I simply wish to say to the member for Central Nova that I apologize for the language that was used. It does not dignify the House for me to add to the cacophony.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Act
Permalink

November 17, 2004