Colleen BEAUMIER

BEAUMIER, Colleen, B.A.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Brampton West (Ontario)
Birth Date
November 8, 1944
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colleen_Beaumier
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=d0b90287-81b1-472f-9be6-3ad4429a7851&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
businesswoman

Parliamentary Career

October 25, 1993 - April 27, 1997
LIB
  Brampton (Ontario)
June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
LIB
  Brampton West--Mississauga (Ontario)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
LIB
  Brampton West--Mississauga (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue (January 13, 2003 - December 11, 2003)
June 28, 2004 - November 29, 2005
LIB
  Brampton West (Ontario)
January 23, 2006 - September 7, 2008
LIB
  Brampton West (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 43 of 44)


September 30, 1994

Ms. Colleen Beaumier (Brampton)

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the Minister of Justice for including provisions in Bill C-41 which ensure that individuals convicted of an offence motivated by the sexual orientation of the victim automatically receive a sentence of aggravating circumstances in addition to their original sentence.

I go on record as supporting the inclusion of sexual orientation in the sentencing provisions contained in Bill C-41. Crimes motivated by the sexual orientation of the victim must not be tolerated. As Canadians we cannot claim to support the protection and promotion of individual human rights if we do not oppose hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation.

Sexual orientation is as much a matter of individuality as any other freedom we enjoy in Canada. As such it should be protected under Canadian law.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Bill C-41
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September 30, 1994

Ms. Colleen Beaumier (Brampton)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition submitted by one of my constituents, Miss Carole Horan, which calls for the government to enact legislation which will enforce the long term incarceration of child sex offenders.

In the short span of six months Miss Horan collected 6,176 signatures from concerned individuals across this country. These Canadians are concerned with the safety and well-being of their children. I join them in expressing their desire to ensure that all children in Canada are protected from sex offenders.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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September 30, 1994

Ms. Colleen Beaumier (Brampton)

moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should enact legislation which will protect children from pedophiles by allowing members of the National Parole Board to enforce the long term incarceration of offenders whom they feel may reoffend.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to speak on Motion No. 305 which calls upon the government to introduce legislation which will allow for the post-sentence detention of child sex offenders who are likely to reoffend upon release from prison.

Motion No. 305 reads as follows:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should enact legislation which will protect children from pedophiles by allowing members of the National Parole Board to enforce the long term incarceration of offenders whom they feel may reoffend.

I begin by sharing the story behind the motion with my hon. colleagues. In June 1988, 11-year old Christopher Stephenson was abducted from a Brampton shopping mall by 45-year old Joseph Fredericks, a repeat child sex offender who was known by criminal justice officials to be in a dangerous state of mind. Fredericks murdered Christopher.

The details of this need not be recounted here. Rather we must focus on action which we as legislators can take to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring. The loss of Christopher's life was both needless and preventable. This is apparent to anyone who takes a moment to review the recommendations made by the inquest that looked into Christopher's death.

Those recommendations, collectively called the Stephenson report, tell us that corrections officials knew that Mr. Fredericks was dangerous when he was released. They knew that he was certain to reoffend. They just could not do anything about it. The legislative authority required to keep Mr. Fredericks in prison simply did not exist despite the fact that he was a certified psychopath.

It is within the authority of the House to enact such legislation. It is within the authority of the House to empower corrections officials to act to keep people like Mr. Fredericks off the streets as long as they pose a threat to our children. That is what the motion seeks to do.

Motion No. 305 calls on the government to enact legislation which will empower the National Parole Board to keep child sex offenders who are likely to reoffend upon release incarcerated beyond the term of their sentence. This was a key recommendation of the Stephenson inquest and it came at a high price.

When we look at the statistics surrounding child sex offenders it is clear that many Canadians are affected by this horrible crime. Fifty-three per cent of all females and thirty-one per cent of all males are victims of unwanted sexual acts. Eighty per cent of these incidents occurred when they were children or youth. A full sixty-three per cent of victims in all sexual assaults reported to the police are young people under the age of 18. Canadian children are prime targets for sex offenders and it is time that we took action to ensure their safety.

The magnitude of the task is apparent when we look at the profile of child sex offenders. In eight out of ten cases the offenders are either related or known to the victims. They occupy positions of trust in the lives of their victims. It is therefore no surprise that a sexual assault against a child often goes unreported.

One study estimates that for every incident of reported child sex abuse two and a half go unreported. Abusers will often threaten the children, thus making them too afraid to report the offence. Other times the offender will persuade the child that the sexual acts are part of any loving relationship and are perfectly acceptable.

Because of the power offenders often enjoy over their victims, their abuse often goes unreported. That is why it is crucial that we act in an effective manner toward child sex offenders when a child has the courage to speak out about abuse.

Current legislation does not allow for truly effective action against child sex offenders. Existing provisions of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act allow for the release of offenders upon completion of two-thirds of their sentence.

Amendments proposed by Bill C-45, which was before the House for first reading last week, would allow the National Parole Board to deny the release of offenders if it feels that they will reoffend within the term of their sentence. Bill C-45 is a giant leap forward in the fight against child sex offenders, but more needs to be done.

I do not wish to understate the importance of the amendments contained in Bill C-45. By removing the requirement to prove serious harm in order to deny parole to a child sex offender, we are giving the National Parole Board a very important instrument in the battle to protect our children.

The serious harm provision was removed out of a recognition that the effects of abuse on children are often not apparent for some time and that a unique sentencing procedure would have to be enacted to deal with child sex offenders.

It is precisely because Bill C-45 employs a non-traditional sentencing procedure that it is so progressive. Traditional sentencing procedures are simply not effective with respect to child sex offenders who have one of the highest reoffence rates in any criminal group. Studies show that 40 per cent of sex offenders reoffend within five years of being released from incarceration.

I believe it is time we took an even bigger step toward effectively addressing this horrible crime. I believe post-sentence detentions are the means to take this step. By keeping these offenders incarcerated as long as they are likely to reoffend we are acting in a constructive, progressive manner. It allows us to link punishment with rehabilitation.

The change in sentencing philosophy is long overdue. We need to send a message loud and clear that punishment is not just serving time. It is more than that. In order for punishment to have been completed convicted offenders must not be in the

same state of mind as they were when they entered prison. They cannot simply leave after serving time. If they are likely to reoffend upon release, they must remain in prison and receive further treatment. Through the change in philosophy we are saying that what offenders do in prison is as important as the length of time they stay there.

Because the model of post-sentence detention is constructive and progressive and looks after the well-being of the offender in the interest of protecting society, it poses a particular challenge for the criminal justice system.

There is no cure for whatever causes an individual to sexually assault a child. However treatment is available with limited success. One study conducted in Europe identified the reoffence rate of child sex offenders as being in the range of 25 per cent. The same study found that with treatment the reoffence rate dropped by 10 to 15 per cent. This reoffence rate is still too high, but any improvement is encouraging.

The reality is that sometimes any amount of treatment does not help. According to the Stephenson report the treatment which Joseph Fredericks received was counterproductive. Post-sentence detention would not have helped to improve Mr. Fredericks' condition, but it would have empowered the National Parole Board to save a very precious life by keeping him off the streets.

There is nationwide support for legislation introducing post-sentencing detention procedures for child sex offenders. Earlier today I presented a petition that Mrs. Carole Horan began. The wording of my motion is actually very similar to that of Mrs. Horan's petition. The petition began as a local initiative and soon began circulating across the country. The petition was only in circulation for six months. I was pleased to table it in the House. It contains 6,100 signatures of Canadians from across the country, and no doubt across the political spectrum, who feel it is time that an effective post-sentence detention mechanism was introduced.

Recent initiatives to enact the post-sentence detention of child sex offenders have not adequately addressed the problems which child sex offenders pose to society. I am referring to a draft bill circulated by the previous government and reintroduced in Parliament by the member for Surrey-White Rock-South Langley as Bill C-240.

That legislation would amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and remove the provisions that restrict the application of a dangerous offender finding to the sentencing court only. That means offenders would be declared dangerous offenders after having completed their sentence and incarcerated indefinitely, subject to periodic reviews to determine whether they still fit the dangerous offender category.

While I sincerely appreciate and share the concerns of the hon. member, I respectfully submit that Bill C-240 is too narrow in its application to child sex offenders to be a truly effective piece of legislation.

Bill C-240 would not have the wide ranging power to enforce post-sentence detention which most of us would like to see. This is due to provisions found in clauses 16 and 26 of the legislation that have the effect of restricting the number of applications for post-sentence detention that would be approved.

Clause 16 empowers Correctional Service Canada to identify offenders who it feels may reoffend and refer them to the National Parole Board. If the board concurs with Correctional Service Canada, clause 26 allows it to refer the case to the appropriate provincial attorney general who may proceed with the case before a court. This procedure would apply to a very small number of individuals because in order for Correctional Service Canada and the National Parole Board to take steps to apply a dangerous offender finding, evidence must be presented that could not reasonably have been presented to the court that sentenced the offender.

This is a problem for detaining child sex offenders who we know will reoffend. Often the only evidence that can be presented, and the only evidence that should have to be presented, is that they are of a state of mind to commit the same crime again. However it is the same state of mind with which they entered prison so it does not qualify as new evidence. We need to be clear in saying that part of the original punishment for child sex offenders is that they cannot be of the same state of mind when they leave prison as when they entered.

Some would argue that this philosophy of sentencing runs counter to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Specifically they would argue that section 11(h) of the charter, which prevents an individual from being punished twice for the same crime, prohibits the enactment of any post-sentence detention scheme.

The courts have been clear in declaring that post-sentence detention is not a violation of individual rights under the charter. They have ruled that the dangerous offender designation of the Criminal Code which allows for the indefinite incarceration of an offender is primarily in the public interest and is not a violation of an individual's charter rights.

I refer to the 1987 decision of the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench in Regina v. Lithium. The court ruled that in dangerous offender applications under the Criminal Code the public interest is a primary concern and that the specific object of the provision is to protect society from an offender who had been convicted of a serious personal injury offence and who had shown a propensity for violent crimes.

In its precedent setting decision the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench clearly stated that post-sentence detention in the case of dangerous offender provisions is in the public interest because it serves a protective function. The court recognized that the charter exists to protect the freedoms of all Canadians. Post-sentence detention should be viewed as an instrument for promoting the safety of Canadians.

The model of post-sentence detention for which I have argued today goes beyond existing dangerous offender provisions and is not only in the best interest of society but of the offender through the provision of rehabilitative treatment.

Many of these offences occur when people are on parole. We look for someone to blame and we often blame the parole board. I was on the provincial parole board. Many times we had to make a decision on releasing an offender whom we were not too sure about. If we have two-thirds of the sentence, or even if it is a three-year sentence, when we have people in front of the parole board who may reoffend do we let them out or not? Many times they are let out because the parole board feels they are going to be let out anyway and it is better they be let out under supervision. This gives the parole board more authority to hold these people.

In closing, I would like to emphasize that the legislation which this motion directs the government to introduce is long overdue. The post-sentence detention of child sex offenders who are likely to reoffend upon release is sound, responsible policy. When dealing with legislation or directives to introduce legislation we must always ask ourselves what kind of statement the proposed legislation makes about society. We must always be sure that this action is focused on the problem it is meant to address, effective in dealing with this problem and in the interests of all Canadians.

I believe that Motion No. 305 fulfils all of these criteria. It says that we as a society care about the safety and well-being of our children and that we want to protect them from sex offenders. It proposes that the government enact legislation which will protect our children by imposing the post-sentence detention of offenders who are likely to reoffend.

It says that this action is in the best interests of all Canadians because it moves to assist not only those individuals who need rehabilitative help but those Canadians who need protection from these offenders.

Given the importance which passage of this motion has for the safety and well-being of all children in Canada, I request leave of the House to give unanimous consent for this motion to be deemed votable.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Child Sex Offenders
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September 20, 1994

Ms. Colleen Beaumier (Brampton)

Mr. Speaker, in last year's federal election members on this side of the House listened to Canadians express their desire for the federal government to introduce reforms to the criminal justice system.

We listened to Canadians tell us that they no longer feel safe walking on our streets and that they fear for the safety of their children, a fear that has never been felt before in this country.

We listened as Canadians from all walks of life and from all parts of this country told us that they want a criminal justice system that is responsive and effective in dealing with the criminal element in our society.

When we took office we committed ourselves to reforming the criminal justice system to more closely resemble the kind of system that Canadians want. We continue to listen to Canadians and to their ideas for reforming our system. We listened as Canadians told us that they want the red tape of government replaced with the common sense of concerned citizens.

It is because this government is committed to listening to the concerns of Canadians and to acting in a constructive manner that I am pleased to speak today on Bill C-45.

Bill C-45 introduces amendments to key pieces of legislation resulting in a criminal justice system which is more consistent with Canadian values. The protection of our children must be our primary concern in the justice system. It is clear that more needs to be done in this area.

The statistics are staggering. Fifty-three per cent of females and 31 per cent of males are the victims of unwanted sexual acts. Eighty per cent of these assaults occur when they are children or youths. This is horrendous and totally unacceptable.

Under existing laws, the National Parole Board is able to detain an individual who has committed a sexual assault against a child only if the offender has committed serious harm to the child. Serious harm is defined as severe physical injury or severe psychological damage. Proving serious harm so defined with respect to a child is difficult because the psychological harm caused by an offender may not be visible for years to come.

Bill C-45 addresses this problem by removing the requirement to demonstrate serious harm for a sexual offence involving a child. This legislation authorizes the National Parole Board to detain an offender where it is satisfied that an offender is likely to commit another sexual assault involving a child before the expiration of their sentence. This really means no parole. This measure is in direct response to concerns expressed by Canadians that our justice system is too caught up in red tape to respond to the common sense concerns of Canadians and to the protection of our children.

Such a move cannot be made in isolation and Bill C-45 provides the necessary accompanying changes to ensure that the removal of the serious harm criteria with respect to child sex offenders is done in a responsible and effective manner. Rehabilitation programs for sex offenders will be strengthened under this legislation to ensure that the time which those convicted of a sexual offence against a child or an adult spent behind bars is constructive.

The strengthening of our rehabilitation programs is greatly needed. A recent study found that 40 per cent of convicted sex offenders reoffend within five years after being released from prison. This is simply unacceptable.

While significant progress has been made by the correctional service of Canada in recent years in the treatment of sex offenders further improvements are needed. Bill C-45 contains provisions to ensure that the Correctional Service of Canada has the resources to improve its capacity to treat offenders by allowing it to make deductions from an offender's income for room and board costs. This covers part of the spending.

The removal of the serious harm provision also places greater importance on the expert abilities of members of the National Parole Board. This legislation strengthens the accountability of the parole board by establishing a mechanism for the discipline or removal of National Parole Board members in instances where a member is clearly not performing up to acceptable standards.

Bill C-45 moves to fulfil a number of our red book commitments to promote safer homes and safer streets.

In addition to the provisions I have already mentioned which deal with the treatment of child sex offenders, this legislation expands the list of offences for which an offender could be ineligible for parole until the end of their sentence. Bill C-45 adds stalking, conspiracy to commit drug offences and serious

drinking and driving and criminal negligence offences which result in bodily harm or death to the list of offences for which an offender could be referred for detention until the end of their sentence.

The recognition of stalking and drug offences in particular as social societal problems in need of intensive treatment is relatively recent. This bill acknowledges their severity in law. By designating stalking, drug offences and drinking and driving as offences for which offenders could be detained until the end of their sentence we are bringing key criminal justice legislation into the 1990s.

These reforms are the product of consulting Canadians on the issue of justice reform. A representative of the Canadian Police Association has described the reforms contained in Bill C-45 as the best improvements in the overall corrections and parole system in this country in the past 15 years. I concur and attribute the responsiveness of this bill to concerned Canadians who have demonstrated a strong commitment to Canadian society. It is their willingness to address these issues in a frank and open manner which has shaped the proposed changes to the criminal justice system.

I congratulate the hon. Solicitor General on Bill C-45 and thank Canadians who participated.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Corrections And Conditional Release Act
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June 22, 1994

Ms. Colleen Beaumier (Brampton)

Mr. Speaker, this month Sikhs around the world are commemorating the 10th anniversary of the tragic army assault against their holiest shrine, the Golden Temple.

In 1984 the Golden Temple and 37 other historic and religious places were destroyed by aggressive army assaults. The Sikh nation calls those who were killed martyrs, and on the 10th anniversary of this tragedy I call upon all members of the House to pay homage to thousands of innocent people, including women, children and seniors killed during these attacks.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   The Golden Temple
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