Lee Glen MORRISON

MORRISON, Lee Glen, P.Eng., B.A., B.E.(Geol.)

Personal Data

Party
Canadian Alliance
Constituency
Cypress Hills--Grasslands (Saskatchewan)
Birth Date
March 6, 1932
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Morrison
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=780f335c-18a2-4381-bfef-a6469e80e063&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
farmer, geological engineer, geologist

Parliamentary Career

October 25, 1993 - April 27, 1997
REF
  Swift Current--Maple Creek--Assiniboia (Saskatchewan)
June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
REF
  Cypress Hills--Grasslands (Saskatchewan)
March 27, 2000 - October 22, 2000
CA
  Cypress Hills--Grasslands (Saskatchewan)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 4 of 135)


September 25, 2000

Mr. Lee Morrison

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I note again that the Liberals are showing their utter contempt for the House, as they usually do. I would ask for a quorum, please.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Youth Criminal Justice Act
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September 19, 2000

Mr. Lee Morrison (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, I notice that members opposite seem to be a bit embarrassed about this bill because the Liberals are making no attempt in the House to defend it. I am not really surprised that they do not want to be associated with their handiwork in a public way.

The enforcement and penalties provisions of the bill epitomize the contempt the government has for due process and individual rights. Why does the government always have to use the big sledgehammer to come forward with legislation which, we must admit, has a wonderful intent? I am sure its intentions are fine. I agree with them but not with the means. With what the government is proposing to do and the jeopardy it will place rural people in, our farmers, ranchers and woodlot owners will have to live with draconian legislation which contains provisions contrary to every historical piece of jurisprudence that I can find, and certainly contrary to the spirit of common law.

Why do I say that? Provisions in the legislation for searches without warrants of any building other than a dwelling house are almost word for word the same as in the notorious firearms legislation, Bill C-68. Even the condition that a warrant to search a dwelling may be obtained merely on the basis that there are reasonable grounds for believing that entry will be otherwise refused are incorporated in this bill. This bill also copies the provisions in Bill C-68 that make it a criminal offence to fail to assist an officer searching one's property or to withhold self-incriminating information.

Clauses 86 to 91 must have been written and compiled by the same folks who wrote the firearms legislation because paragraph after paragraph in the enforcement section are absolutely identical in wording to the other bill. This is not a coincidence.

We say that this bill is to protect endangered species. I think it is here to protect a predatory species, namely the lawyers who have written it for lawyers. Lawyers will become fantastically wealthy trying to defend innocent landowners against the provisions of this insane legislation.

Not only are the provisions for search and seizure and all those good things totally contrary to the spirit of Canadian law, but the prescribed penalties for killing, molesting or trafficking in endangered species will be extraordinarily severe. This is a country noted for leniency for most criminal sanctions, but with this legislation an individual may be fined up to $250,000 and/or imprisoned for up to five years, even if he does not deliberately commit the offence. Even if it is through negligence or accident, these penalties are available.

The same penalties are available for “destroying the nest or den of an endangered creature” again even through negligence. A person who accidentally runs over the nest of a bird which is supposedly endangered could be in trouble.

If I go out on my ranch, which incidentally teems with game, to check my cattle and I accidentally run over a species of plant which is deemed to be endangered, or even if my saddle horse steps on such a plant, under the terms of this legislation I can be charged. I can be charged not for some statutory offence, but with a crime. Why does the government want to make criminals of ordinary citizens every time they turn around?

The implications of the legislation for farmers are really alarming. Equally alarming to the possibility that one might accidentally destroy a nest or den is the provision that the penalties I have been quoting can be applied to anyone who destroys any part of the deemed critical habitat of an endangered species. There does not even have to be any endangered species present for this law to come into full force.

I would ask the indulgence of the House to read from an analysis of the bill which was prepared by Mr. David Pope, a prominent Calgary attorney who, as I do, cherishes civil liberty and the common law. Here is what Mr. Pope has to say:

The offences and penalties for actions against plants, animals and organisms that are deemed species at risk and the lands which make up their habitat are unlike any found in Canadian criminal law. These are not offences of murder, arson, theft or rape but are for harming or harassing a plant, animal or organism or destroying a portion of its habitat.

Mr. Pope then describes the listed environmental crimes as “strict liability offences”. That is to say that an accuser need only say that the offence was committed and the person accused must then prove that he did not do it. This is called, in legal terms, reverse onus. It is almost never used in criminal law. In the past it has been virtually unheard of, and the test for conviction is much less than the usual standard of the criminal law. This is a dangerous change, especially when one realizes that it is aimed directly at ranchers and farmers who are usually not seen as criminals in Canadian society.

The competent minister has authority to appoint eco-police who have the same powers as a peace officer but no training. These eco-police only have to justify themselves to the minister.

Finally, since I see my time has nearly elapsed, there is a provision in Bill C-33 for anyone 18 years or older and resident of Canada to start an investigation against a rancher or farmer for any of the offences that we have been mentioning. Any special interest group or anyone with a grudge against a particular farmer may launch such a prosecution and can do so in complete anonymity.

As a matter of fact, the act states that the minister may not release the name of the plaintiff. Anyone else in a criminal court in Canada is allowed to face his or her accuser. Even murderers have that right, but someone who may have accidentally or negligently damaged an endangered species habitat does not have that right. He or she cannot bring an accuser into open court face to face.

I do not know how the bill can be fixed in its present state. We would have to eliminate so many sections to bring the enforcement and penalty provisions into line with Canadian custom and other Canadian law that we would virtually gut the bill. I would respectfully suggest that that is what should happen. Perhaps that is why government members are not defending the bill. Maybe that is their intent. I pray that it is.

Let us go back to the drawing board. Let us get it right. Let us protect endangered species without beating up on our own citizens.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Species At Risk Act
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June 13, 2000

Mr. Lee Morrison

Madam Speaker, I guess there was a question in there somewhere. I was touched to hear that the hon. member was hurt by the tone of debate in the last parliament, as the practitioner of some of the most vicious debate that I have ever heard in this place. It brings to mind the old proverb of the pot calling the kettle black. This is one for the books.

The hon. member mentioned that she will only get a pension of $17,000. I do not know what she did wrong or why she will be punished. Anyone else with her number of years of service would be getting $19,096. Perhaps she was bad and they took away some of her money.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Parliament Of Canada Act
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June 13, 2000

Mr. Lee Morrison (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Canadian Alliance)

Mr. Speaker, as of June 4 the Canadian Firearms Centre had issued only 183,353 personal licences and had a backlog of about 144,000 applications in process or awaiting attention.

At that rate, even using the justice department's lowball estimate of three million gun owners in Canada, it would take about 25 years to complete the licensing process.

I ask the justice minister, what is going to happen on the deadline date of December 31 of this year?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Firearms
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June 13, 2000

Mr. Lee Morrison

Do you have any other kind?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Parliament Of Canada Act
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