Douglas Grinslade LEWIS

LEWIS, The Hon. Douglas Grinslade, P.C., Q.C., LL.B., F.C.A.

Personal Data

Party
Progressive Conservative
Constituency
Simcoe North (Ontario)
Birth Date
April 17, 1938
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doug_Lewis
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=761a9263-10e4-4b7c-848d-e7ba3a1f500e&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
chartered accountant, lawyer

Parliamentary Career

May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
PC
  Simcoe North (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Supply and Services (October 1, 1979 - December 14, 1979)
February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
PC
  Simcoe North (Ontario)
  • Progressive Conservative Party Deputy House Leader (September 9, 1981 - February 8, 1983)
  • Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition (September 9, 1981 - February 8, 1983)
  • Official Opposition House Leader (February 9, 1983 - September 6, 1983)
  • Progressive Conservative Party House Leader (February 9, 1983 - September 6, 1983)
September 4, 1984 - October 1, 1988
PC
  Simcoe North (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board (November 1, 1984 - November 24, 1985)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council (November 25, 1985 - October 14, 1987)
  • Minister of State (Treasury Board) (August 27, 1987 - January 29, 1989)
  • Minister of State (Government House Leader) (August 27, 1987 - January 29, 1989)
November 21, 1988 - September 8, 1993
PC
  Simcoe North (Ontario)
  • Minister of State (Treasury Board) (August 27, 1987 - January 29, 1989)
  • Minister of State (Government House Leader) (August 27, 1987 - January 29, 1989)
  • President of the Treasury Board (December 8, 1988 - January 29, 1989)
  • Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (January 30, 1989 - February 22, 1990)
  • Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (April 3, 1989 - February 22, 1990)
  • Progressive Conservative Party House Leader (April 3, 1989 - February 22, 1990)
  • Minister of Transport (February 23, 1990 - April 20, 1991)
  • Solicitor General of Canada (April 21, 1991 - June 24, 1993)
  • Progressive Conservative Party House Leader (June 25, 1993 - September 8, 1993)
  • Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (June 25, 1993 - November 3, 1993)
  • Solicitor General of Canada (June 25, 1993 - November 3, 1993)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 2 of 592)


May 7, 1993

Mr. Lewis:

Madam Speaker, on a point of order. I appreciate my hon. friend will continue his remarks after Question Period. I believe there have been discussions among the parties and I think you will find consent for the following motion:

That the motion for second reading of Bill C-123 be amended by

having the bill referred to the Standing Committee on Justice rather

than a legislative committee in the Departmental envelope.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SEIZED PROPERTY MANAGEMENT ACT
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May 7, 1993

Hon. Doug Lewis (Solicitor General of Canada):

Madam Speaker, I must say that I am extremely pleased to speak to this bill. That may sound strange, but this bill has been in the preparation stage for an awfully long time and I am pleased that it is now introduced in the House so we can deal with it.

This bill gives the government the authority and flexibility to deal with property which has been seized and restrained from the time that takes place until the property is forfeited under the Criminal Code, the Narcotic Control Act or the Food and Drugs Act.

This is a bill the importance of which will probably not be readily apparent to Canadians, but it will be greatly effective in improving Canadian society. It is an essential part of our law enforcement strategy.

This bill manoeuvres around technical and legal obstacles behind which organized crime hides the profits of the drug trade, international smuggling or other serious

crimes which attack our youth, industry and society as a whole.

Where criminals are able to conceal the profits of then-activities it is no secret this is used to further more crime. Organized criminals have long attempted to invest the proceeds of their crimes in legitimate business thus erecting a front for their illegitimate activities and providing a permanent and well-hidden camouflage for their crime-raised money.

Bill C-123 adds to the legislative tools given law enforcement officers from coast to coast in stripping criminals of their cover by facilitating the management of seized assets until they are forfeited and then facilitating their sale.

In 1989 the Government of Canada first enacted proceeds of crime legislation. The purpose of the legislation was to take action against organized crime, particularly drug trafficking and money laundering.

At that time we put a great deal of focus on the process whereby we seized property and forfeited it because we were concerned about taking away people's property. I think we got that right but this bill corrects the manner in which it is managed while it goes from the point of seizure to the point of forfeiture.

It is a weapon in crime prevention that we think will help to counter the growth of the drug trade because putting the profit potential of crime at risk will not only reduce the motivation for traffickers but will also undermine the ability of organized crime to use its accumulated profits to further finance trafficking endeavours.

From 1989 to the end of 1992 the RCMP seized some $76.3 million in suspected proceeds of crime. In the same period the courts forfeited approximately $17.7 million and levied fines of $12.5 million.

The types of assets that have been seized are what make this bill so important. There is no trick to managing a bank account. That is easy. What the RCMP and other police forces are dealing with are assets such as cars, airplanes, boats, homes and businesses. It is difficult to

May 7, 1993

Government Orders

manage them and maintain their value after seizure, before forfeiture and up to sale.

This act balances the Proceeds of Crime (money laundering) Act which was enacted in 1991 and which provided another set of measures to strengthen the ability of the government to use the proceeds of crime provisions effectively.

I have to say that despite the creation of these legislative tools the proceeds of crime policies have not been maximized, and that is what we are attacking in this bill.

One of the reasons we have not been able to maximize it is because there has been an absence of a coherent and effective asset management regime pending the forfeiture of the seized assets. The management of seized assets requires considerable human and financial resources, particularly where real property or ongoing businesses must be managed.

Unfortunately the proceeds of crime legislation did not clearly allocate responsibility for asset management, nor did it adequately address the need to allocate the legal responsibility for the maintenance of restrained property and the need for clear authority to advance funds as may be necessary to maintain property or compensate creditors.

It is one thing for Treasury Board to manage the operations of the government but it is quite another thing when Treasury Board is asked to advance moneys through the RCMP to make sure a ski hill is operating effectively. Those are some of the difficulties we are dealing with. What we are trying to do with this bill is to correct things.

As well as managing the assets I think it is fair to say there has been a strong demand for equitable sharing of the proceeds of crime, both domestically and at the international level.

My notes say that there is a perceived disincentive to co-operation on the part of provincial and local governments whose police forces have conducted long investigations in support of federal prosecutions. There is no question that it goes beyond a disincentive. It is something that has been advanced to me by municipalities across the country in my capacity as Minister of Justice in 1989-90 and as Solicitor General for the past two years.

I would not say that our police forces at the municipal, provincial and federal levels are not doing drug investigations the way they might. I would suggest that they see a much greater opportunity to put more focus on drug prosecutions and really turn the screws on these people who are making money at the expense of the public.

I want to point out that when the question of asset sharing with municipal and provincial authorities has come up, I have maintained two very strong positions. Number one, I believe that they should be shared according to the input into the solution of the crime with a certain amount for the financing of the bureau of asset management. That is fine. We are looking at 10 per cent there.

I believe in sharing with the municipalities and the provinces. I do not believe in the provinces having any control over how much goes to the municipalities. We should have an independent authority saying: "All right, this crime had a third input each by the RCMP, OPP and metro Toronto police, and it should be shared that way". That is the way I feel about it personally and I want that clearly on the record of this House. It should be shared according to input.

The second point I want to make personally is the distinction. It should not go to the actual police force. It should go to the taxing authority that is in charge of the budget of the police force. It would not go to the metropolitan Toronto police force but to the metropolitan Toronto police commission or whatever. It would go to the body that funds the police operations.

In addition to the problems I have just spoken about, the current proceeds provisions in the drug area provide for the disposition of corporate proceeds by the minister of health and welfare. I think it is fair to say this is not a function of which the minister of health and welfare in any government would be the main focus of their activities. If we combine it in legislation which puts a better focus on it and more specific responsibility then we will have a better operation.

There is also a problem in cases which are prosecuted by the provincial attorneys general. Bill C-123 provides for a correction of that. The bill provides for the creation of an office within the Department of Supply and Services which will operate on a cost mutual basis and whose primary task will be in federally initiated prosecu-

May 7, 1993

tions to manage seized, restrained and forfeited property up until the time of its sale or other disposition.

The act also provides for the sharing of corporate assets within and outside of Canada. The office will be established by the Minister of Supply and Services to allow that minister to have custody and management of any property falling under the scope of this legislation.

Once the office has possession or control over the property it will have the power to manage it in the manner it considers appropriate up until the time the property is disposed of. This includes the advancing of money at a commercial rate of interest if that is necessary to maintain the ongoing operation of the property. It is also anticipated that the office will contract out to the private sector for most of the management services required.

I will give the House an explanation of this and how it will work. If for example the RCMP is about to seize 10 video stores in Vancouver, the idea is not that 10 bureaucrats from Ottawa will fly to Vancouver and operate the video stores while they are going from seizure to forfeiture.

My conception of this as a chartered accountant is that we bring in receivers in bankruptcy. They are in the business of doing this. If that seizure were to take place in the city of Vancouver one would go to a receiver in bankruptcy and contract with it to have people on the ground in that area who do it most effectively rather than create a bureaucracy to be able to jump in and do those kinds of things because the private sector is in the business of doing it.

As well, the office will provide consultative and other services in relation to the seizure or restraint of property in connection with designated drug offences or property that is or may have been obtained through the proceeds of crime.

It is also important that under authority of this bill we will have the ability to share the forfeited proceeds of crime with domestic governments or with foreign governments. This is important because we have to realize that international crime is just what it is, international crime. We co-operate with many other law enforcement bodies and as we receive proceeds it is important that we

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be able to share with the international governments that have helped us.

In the past we have been the beneficiary of money. Specifically, last year we received approximately a million dollars in U.S. funds from the proceeds of a joint crime investigation. We have the ability to receive but we do not have the ability to reciprocate. I think that is very important.

I think we have the management down. I think we have a regime in place for the sharing of the proceeds and regulation will come forward on that.

As well, the legislation corrects an anomaly that currently affects the provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick. In most of Canada federal prosecutors conduct proceedings related to drug offences. However, in Quebec and New Brunswick drug cases investigated by local or provincial police are handled by provincial prosecutors. The new legislation will provide that where the prosecution of the offences commences at the instance of a government of a province or conducted by or on behalf of that province, any forfeited property will be disposed of as the attorney general of that province directs and not by a minister of the federal government as is currently the case.

I believe that this will be a very effective instrument in our fight against organized crime. We will be finishing off the proceeds of crime legislation that we have already passed and completing the task which will enable us to really put pressure on organized crime in their pocket-books. That will reduce their ability to continue in an activity that is of absolutely no benefit to Canada whatsoever.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SEIZED PROPERTY MANAGEMENT ACT
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May 6, 1993

Hon. Doug Lewis (Solicitor General of Canada):

Madam Speaker, just briefly, I want to compliment the speakers who have participated in the debate today. In an effort to move things along I am not going to speak, but I hold the views of all of the people who have spoken today. I think some good points have been made.

I would like to address, if I may, the mandatory aspect of the comments of the speaker representing the New Democratic Party. I share the view of the minister that we are making progress and we have to continue to grind it out. We will never stop insensitive remarks from being made no matter how hard we try. We just have to keep grinding it out.

I had occasion to go to Newfoundland and speak to the Provincial Court Judges Association. I saw two very excellent video tapes that have been prepared by the Canadian Judicial Centre, one on family violence and the other on the sexual abuse of children. Both tapes are being used extensively.

I share the NDP member's sentiments on the need to continue to do it. I just have some hesitation with the mandatory aspect of it, especially with the judges. The first thing the judges are going to say is that we are interfering with judicial independence and they will take it off on that tangent. I do not think that serves our purpose, which is identical, to broaden the base of knowledge and sensitivity. I do not think there is any question that we have to do that. It ought to be mandatory that governments keep pushing them. That is where the mandatory aspects should come in.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CRIMINAL CODE
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May 5, 1993

Mr. Lewis:

Remember what happened to the member for Essex-Windsor.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S. O. 81-TRADE
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May 5, 1993

Mr. Lewis:

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table this document. It contains items of research and development and investment. If my hon. friend wants to claim some companies misrepresented their financial statements, if he would step just outside the door and make that statement we would all be there to hear it.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S. O. 81-TRADE
Full View Permalink