Personal Data

Peterborough East (Ontario)
Birth Date
April 22, 1837
Deceased Date
November 13, 1910

Parliamentary Career

November 3, 1904 - September 17, 1908
  Peterborough East (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 3 of 59)

December 6, 2002

Mr. John Finlay (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. There are three parties involved in specific claims: the first nations, Canada, and the provincial governments. This commission is being changed in order that decisions can be made more quickly and more satisfactorily so that first nations can get on with the matter of controlling their own land.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
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December 4, 2002

Mr. John Finlay (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is already taking steps to address the reporting issues raised by the Office of the Auditor General. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada agrees that reporting should be transparent, efficient and results based.

Existing program areas are being examined to determine where single window reporting could better serve the federal government and first nations in general.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
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December 4, 2002

Mr. John Finlay (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, steps have been taken to reduce the number of reports needed.

We are committed to improving the current reporting structure with first nations, while ensuring a balance is maintained between the accountability to Canadians on the use of public funds and coherent and consistent federal government reporting.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Aboriginal Affairs
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December 4, 2002

Mr. John Finlay (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on Bill C-280, an act to amend the Criminal Code (selling wildlife). There are some admirable motivations behind this proposal and the member for South Surrey—White Rock—Langley has put them very well.

As a government, we fully support ensuring that wildlife is preserved and protected in the best possible way, and certainly that extends to species at risk. In fact, there are many years of conservation actions behind this in Canada and there are a number of statutes already on the books that accomplish this goal.

The proposed legislation would create three indictable offences under the Criminal Code for selling wildlife or wildlife parts, or for killing, capturing or possessing wildlife or wildlife parts for the purpose of selling them. Under this proposal there would be exemptions from prosecution for people who sell wildlife in accordance with a licence, permit or an exemption order. It also states that the sale of threatened or endangered species would mean high penalties and that all offences would be subject to the money laundering provisions of the Criminal Code.

As noted at the outset of my remarks, these are admirable objectives. However, we need to make sure that there is a good fit with other legislation already in place or pending. In this case, this is not so.

I would like to point out that in the Migratory Birds Convention Act of 1994 and the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act, known as WAPPRIITA, there are dual procedure offences. These are also found in the Canada Wildlife Act. Dual procedure offences mean that they can begin with a summary conviction or an indictment. The maximum prison terms set out for proceedings by indictment in most statutes do not exceed five years.

Let us also consider the government sponsored Bill C-5, the species at risk act. This bill is currently under review by the Senate Committee on Energy, Environment and Natural Resources. One of the offences created in Bill C-5 is the prohibition on the killing, harming, harassing, capturing or taking of a wildlife species that is listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened. Bill C-5 also includes a prohibition on the possessing, collecting, buying, selling or trading of a wildlife species listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened.

There is some overlap between this offence and the ones outlined in existing legislation, as well as the offences set out in Bill C-280.

Bill C-280 provides only indictable offences. The maximum prison terms vary from two to eight years, depending on whether it is a first or subsequent offence and whether the wildlife involved is an endangered species.

The question here is not that we need to do this. The question here is whether it is already being done or has been done, and in a better way.

Is Bill C-280 the best way to accomplish the goal? Are the provisions about prohibiting behaviour that is traditionally associated with Parliament's exercise of its criminal law power? Or perhaps we should say that Bill C-280 is describing a public welfare offence, traditionally associated with regulatory matters in a civil context. That is why we believe this approach is inconsistent with the classification of offences elsewhere in the Criminal Code.

The sale of wildlife, as I have demonstrated, is well covered in existing legislation. The bill is a duplication that is not necessary. I can also submit that in many cases we would be using the heavy hand of the Criminal Code for some sales that are quite minor, such as the sale of a few muskrat pelts. We do not need such a heavy approach.

Let me explain further. The offence of sexual assault is classified as a dual procedure offence, which means that the Crown may elect to proceed by summary conviction or by indictment. From a policy point of view, it would appear inconsistent to classify the selling of wildlife as an indictable offence when other offences considered more serious by society are classified as dual procedure offences.

There also would be a cost implication to the provinces and territories if straight indictable offences were created for the offences in Bill C-280. All persons charged with any of the offences under the act would have a choice of trial, including the possibility of a jury trial.

We need to remember that under the Canadian system provincial governments are those with the constitutional powers to regulate the use and protection of wildlife on provincial lands. We must also take note that these offences are well covered in Canadian statutes and will be reinforced with the passage of the proposed species at risk act.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Criminal Code
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October 29, 2002

Mr. John Finlay

I might retire. I am thinking of it.

The second question is regarding why people do not vote. There have been a lot of statements in the House about why the voting percentage has gone down. We have to look at that a little more carefully. Why? Has anyone studied it? Have we any polls on it?

My idea on it is that many people do not vote because they do not feel motivated to vote. They are uninterested. I guess that some people do not vote because they are lazy. Some do not vote because they think all politicians are crooked. Of course, when I look around the House this morning, that cannot be true because there are a number of politicians here and I do not think any of them think they are crooked. I know I do not. I know that members who have spoken do not. I suppose another reason people do not vote is that they are quite satisfied; they are not dissatisfied.

The member asked how do people make their voices heard around here. Many members will remember the two things that occurred in the last nine years which raised the most reaction from Canadians. One was negative option billing of TV programming. All members' offices were deluged on that issue. The other was the issue of giving money to hockey teams.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
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