- MPconMon 2:40 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I enjoy the entertainment of the member opposite who gave his soliloquy on misrepresentation and telling the truth. He also suggested that we needed a mirror.
I suggest that the member look in the mirror on the other side, say in Timmins—James Bay. When the member of Parliament for Timmins—James Bay told his constituents, the actual voters, that the member was going to support the removal of the gun registry, but when it came to a vote changed his mind and voted to keep the gun registry, was it a misrepresentation?
When the member for Timmins—James Bay puts out a pamphlet saying “Look at all the good things the government has done for the north”, but voted against every single item on the page, was that misrepresentation?
- MPconMon 2:15 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that the hon. member for Mississauga—Streetsville apologized to the House and voluntarily corrected the record. This is not the first time a member has had to correct the record and apologize to the House.
I am very concerned about our creating an environment in the House of punishing members. I am concerned about punishing a member of Parliament on any side of the House if that person comes forward and corrects the record and apologizes for making a mistake. Is that the environment of co-operation that the NDP has been talking about for many years?
- MPconMon 1:40 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have been here listening to the debate this afternoon on this question of privilege. My question to the member from the Liberal Party is simple.
I recall being here in 2010, when the member for St. Paul's, which I believe is a Liberal riding, posted on her website details of a bill that had not yet been presented in the House. That is against the privileges of everybody in the House. The member for St. Paul's understood that she had made that mistake and came to the House to apologize. That apology was accepted by the House.
As for the eight and a half years that I have been here, people do make mistakes. Members of Parliament make mistakes. We are human, by the way. We do make mistakes and when we do, we come here, we apologize, and we correct the record. That is what the member for Mississauga—Streetsville has done.
If we accepted the apology from the member for St. Paul's for violating everybody's privilege by posting information about a bill that had not yet been presented to the House of Commons, why should we not also accept the apology and the correction of the record from the member for Mississauga—Streetsville?
- MPconFeb 13, 2014 11:55 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is estimated that there are over 600 unidentified human remains across Canada. That means there are over 600 families that have not been able to have any closure in the loss of a loved one. Our government is standing up for victims by returning to the heart of our justice system. That is why we have announced a victims bill of rights.
Could the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness please tell this House what our government is doing to assist families of unidentified missing persons?
- MPconFeb 13, 2014 10:50 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for Yukon for sharing his time with me today. He has done an excellent job, not only today but year-round. I want to thank him for his commitment last summer. He ran around his whole territory on behalf of diabetes disease, which I have. I want to thank him for bringing attention to that disease and for the work he does in that area.
Economic action plan 2014 is a Conservative budget. Is anybody here surprised that it is a Conservative budget? It is conservative as we move toward a balanced approach to our finances in this country. We do not use magic. We do not think books balance themselves. We have a plan. Economic action plan 2014 builds upon the plan that we have had for the years we have been in office.
Before I get into the points in this budget that I think relate very well to Burlington, my home riding, we have heard, through the questions being asked today, about not foreseeing the downturn in the economy. We had the member for Malpeque, as the previous speaker mentioned, on this and that. The Liberal Party took $60 billion out of the EI fund and reallocated it for its own use. We have the Liberals saying we are running big deficits, and then in the same breath they are talking about adding more.
Where do they think the money comes from? We would have to raise taxes, which we know is what the NDP wants to do, and now it definitely sounds like the Liberals want to do it too. They cannot complain that we have deficits. We are getting those deficits down. We are working very hard to make that happen, and we are almost there. We have another year, and hopefully we will have accomplished that goal.
We did stimulus spending in an appropriate way so that we created jobs in this country. A million jobs have been created since the end of the recession. We have been working hard in those areas.
I am fully aware that the opposition has a role to criticize. It should be criticizing what is in the budget, if it finds things it can do better. However, to criticize us for our actions to get this country back to work, to keep us as the number one economy of all of our partners, is just not accurate. I think it does not do this House or the parties any good.
I will get back to what is in this budget that we have in front of us, in economic action plan 2014.
There are a few things that I would like to highlight. The reason I would like to highlight them is that often there is the impression that a backbencher member of Parliament might not have a tremendous amount of influence. Our finance minister has an open mind and an open door to suggestions about what should be in the budget. There are things in this budget that I have advocated for, either this year or in previous years. Sometimes things do not happen overnight. I know that is hard for people to believe. Sometimes we have to keep advocating for what we believe in.
I want to point out a couple of things in this budget that I have been working on as a member of Parliament on behalf of my constituents that have made it into this budget.
The first one is very personal. I have a daughter who has just graduated from university. I know a number of her colleagues and friends. They are all looking for work. Fortunately for my daughter, she was a co-op student. The co-op has made a big difference in her ability to find employment because she has some experience.
In this budget, the finance minister, in his wisdom and under our Prime Minister, said that this kind of learning, this kind of experience, is what we need for our young people to get ahead, to get a start, and we have put aside $40 million for 3,000 full-time internships in high-demand jobs. It is exactly what we need to get young people into the workforce and moving forward in their careers.
People may say this sounds silly. I have an open door policy in my office. Year after year, there are two groups of university students, two organizations, that come to see me every year with demands. I do not agree with every one of their demands. Trust me. And I am clear with those young folks that I do not agree with them.
However, one of the items I have agreed with, and I have actually put in a submission to the Minister of Finance, is to not include vehicles in the calculations of student loans. If a student's car were worth $3,000 or $5,000, it would go against the value he or she could borrow because it was an asset that we would account for. In this budget, we would eliminate that. There are 19,000 students in this country who drive to school. In my riding of Burlington, we do not have a university main campus. We have a satellite campus for McMaster University in my riding, for MBA students, but we do not have a main campus; so people often drive to McMaster or to Guelph or to college in Oakville or to Toronto. They live at home to save money, and they drive to school every day. This is a request that has come year after year from these organizations. They thought, and I agreed with them, that this is something we should look at. I submitted it to the Minister of Finance last year and this year, and it made the budget. I am very proud that we saw the light that we need to be helping our young people in my area to pay for their education.
There is another area we get criticized on, research and innovation, which is not accurate, but the opposition members like to criticize. In this budget, there would be $1.5 billion in funding for post-secondary education research. In addition to that, we would give $46 million to granting councils that grant to individual organizations that do research. Just so people know, they are the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. All three councils would get funding from this $46 million to carry out research. We have been criticized as being very narrow on what we want to see done in terms of research. We would give a chunk of this $46 million to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. I am very proud of the work we are doing in that area.
Here is another item that is close to my heart. Ford Canada has its manufacturing plant office in my neighbouring riding of Oakville, and lots of individuals work for Ford, but a lot more individuals work in companies that are suppliers to Ford in my riding. In support of innovation and an understanding that we need to move forward in this industry if we are going to stay ahead of the curve in terms of innovation, we would put forward $500 million in the innovative automotive sector over two years. That is additional money that automotive companies in this country could use to innovate and do research on the new products they are going to bring to the marketplace.
That is not the only area. We are also looking at what has been working. This is not in my riding, but transformation has been needed in the forestry industry, and we would re-fund to a tune of $90 million the forest institute transformation fund, which allows forestry companies to look at where they are now and what the future will be in terms of the products and services that need to be provided, and it would give them some funding to help them get there.
Another area is seniors. Seniors make up almost half of my riding. I think a little over 50% of the residents are age 55 and over now. Someone age 55 is not a senior, but that is the statistic I have, and I am getting there. We have a program that helps seniors, and we have been able to deliver a large number of small projects in my riding through this program. One example is that we gave $5,000 to a small organization that helps Polish seniors in my riding to buy computer equipment, so they can have access to the Internet and gain an understanding of it. They were so excited that this money was delivered to them. Our seniors centre has a new kitchen, to be able to provide a breakfast program to shut-in seniors who are not able to get out. Without our providing that money through this seniors program, they would not be out every other Sunday morning. We would re-fund that as a $5 million per year program, which is excellent for my riding.
I will finish with this. I had a private member's bill eight years ago dealing with a DNA database for missing persons, a missing persons index. It did not make it because it needed royal assent and needed money spent on it, which is not allowed in a private member's bill. Today, in this budget, the DNA-base missing persons databank will come to fruition. I thank the minister and the Prime Minister for their foresight on that.
- MPconFeb 12, 2014 12:15 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in contraband tobacco).
The committee considered the bill and decided to report it to the House without amendment.
- MPconFeb 11, 2014 1:45 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all Canadians, let me congratulate the minister for his work in returning Canada to a balanced budget in 2015. While other countries struggle with their finances, Canada is showing the world that strong fiscal management is the right path for job creation and economic growth.
On a personal note, I want to thank the minister for including the missing person's index in this budget. I worked on that as a private members' bill eight years ago.
I would also like to thank the minister for his work on supporting charities and on encouraging charitable giving in Canada. Given the important work charities do in every community, what will economic action plan 2014 do to help charities?
- MPconFeb 05, 2014 12:00 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, over the last 20 years, wireless services have grown into something Canadians rely on daily. As a result, we are seeing new cell towers being constructed in our communities. Their placement in my riding has been a very divisive issue. I believe Canadians deserve a say on how and where new cell tower locations are identified.
Can the Minister of Industry please tell the House what our government is doing to ensure that local voices are heard?
- MPconFeb 03, 2014 1:25 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, that is a very good point about whether we can legislate convenience away.
The other thing the member said that got a lot of jeers from the other side was about bank profits. They look at all of their services and decide which services will attract which fees to be able to make a profit. I am 100% in support of banks making a profit. My CPP is fully invested in Canadian banks. Most union pension plans are fully invested in Canadian banks. The more stable and profitable the banking system is in this country, the better off 99% of Canadians will be in the long term, because we have a quality banking system that helps support an investment community and our retirement savings. We will have a good quality of life for many years to come partly because of the quality of the banking system we have in Canada.
- MPconFeb 03, 2014 1:20 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I will explain why I say that the uncompetitive piece is not accurate. I will use my own example from yesterday.
I was at a bank that was not my own bank. I am not trying to brag, but I had been at the office and doing a little banking for my office account. It is a long story. I use a different bank than I do for my personal banking.
I was having a Super Bowl gathering at my house and I needed $200. I could have done one of four things. I could have got the money from this bank while I was doing the banking. I was in a mall, so I could have walked across the mall to a different bank that charges $1.50 instead of $2 a transaction. I could have got in my car and gone across the road and got it for free at my own bank. I also could have gone to the convenience store beside the place where I was getting the wings and use a white machine, because it has a white machine there, for which I would have probably paid $3. There were four choices available to me, all within two or three minutes of each other. My decision to do it there was made out of convenience. It cost me 1%, and that was worth my time.
I do not think our system is uncompetitive. What we need to do is have people think about it and make decisions. When my younger kids go out, instead of waiting to get their cash at the white machine at the local pub, they go to their own branch and get it for free, and that is what they should be doing.
- MPconFeb 03, 2014 1:15 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, too much. That is somewhat hurtful, but I can take it.
The issue we have here today is important. ATM fees affect us all. There is no doubt about it. However, I am not sure the appropriate response by government is to limit the fees and to make the decision on behalf of consumers about what they are going to pay and where they are going to pay.
My concern would be that the Government of Canada would say that banks can charge only 50¢, and then every bank, whether people have an account there or not, would start charging everyone 50¢. It is a dangerous approach. There are other ways to influence the banking system to give consumers proper transparency and to influence consumers to make the appropriate choices, particularly in their banking and financial literacy.
For that reason, I will not be supporting the motion as it is worded. However, I do want to say that these are the kinds of issues we should be debating in the House of Commons, as they affect every riding and every constituency. I appreciate the time, and I look forward to answering any questions.
- MPconFeb 03, 2014 1:00 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to be here today to speak to the opposition day motion. I want to say nice things about my colleague from Sudbury. He is concerned and has spoken many times in the House about consumer issues, and I believe he has done a good job representing his party on some of those issues here today.
It does not mean that I have to agree with what the New Democrats have brought forward today. I have not been here all day, but I have heard a number of speeches that have talked about capping, which seems to be around the 50¢ mark. The motion itself reads:
That, in the opinion of the House, Canadian consumers face unfair Automated Teller Machine (ATM) fees as a result of an uncompetitive marketplace and that the House call on the government to take action in Budget 2014 to protect consumers by limiting ATM fees.
I want to thank the NDP. I was a member of the finance committee for six years, and I cannot remember New Democrats bringing forward concrete budget ideas. This is one. They have brought forward a budget idea. However, with eight days left before the budget is produced, it is a wee bit late and a little bit thin.
Today's motion is focused on ATM fees, which consumers have to know are charged through chartered banks. They are also charged through what I think are called “white machines”, or private sector companies that are not banks but provide machines in restaurants or bars where they charge money to get one's own money out.
I will congratulate the members. They have an idea for a budget, and I appreciate their focusing on some financial and consumer issues, as the Conservative Party has been focused on consumer issues since we have taken office.
We have done a number of things on a variety of issues, from banks and credit cards, which I will highlight in a few minutes, to the telecom business. We have been trying our darndest to make sure we have a very robust and competitive marketplace. We believe that competition is what will drive prices down and give consumers more choice.
I am a little confused by some of the comments, and I want to make sure it is on the record as to how I understand that an ATM works at a chartered bank. I am a member of chartered bank A. When I go there to take money at any of its branches, I do not get charged for removing my money from the account. However, because of convenience and timing, if I go to a branch of another bank, I would be charged for taking money out of my account. Yesterday, I made a conscious decision, as a consumer, to take $200 out. There was a $2 charge, 1%. I made the decision that the 1% was the amount I was willing to pay to take money out of my account at a different bank so that I could get to my appointment at a more convenient time.
As with the mover of the motion, my town also has a population of 170,000 to 180,000 people. We have a branch at every corner. There is a branch of one type or another virtually everywhere in my community. I can easily access my own brand of bank that I have chosen for my personal accounts, and I pay zero fees. If I had a credit card or a card from a department store, let us say Winners, for example, I have an agreement with Winners and bank A. I do business with that particular bank. I do not do business with other banks in my area. I cannot use my Winners card if I go to Fortinos, which is my grocery store. The store does not allow it to be used there.
We are very lucky in this country that we are able to access our money from different banks and different machines. We have a world-renowned banking system. During the recession, other countries, even our neighbours, had difficulties with their banking systems. Canada's banking system has been ranked number one, and part of the reason is the relationship our banks have with each other and other financial institutions. They are able to share information. They can tell each other that someone has x dollars in an account with bank A. Bank B will accept a bank A card and bank B will allow money to be taken out. There is a small fee.
I agree that consumers have to make a conscious choice. Do I spend that 1%? If I only want to take $20 out, it would be 10%, and I would think that was way too high. I would walk across the road and go to a branch of my bank and pay no fee. I make the choice as the consumer.
We on this side of the House believe that we need to provide the infrastructure and the system. We need to provide business with the ability to do business. We need to provide consumers with the ability to make choices. All we are dealing with today is the ATM.
We need to be able to make choices. I can give the House some examples of how we recognize that.
I was never a fan of reverse billing. People would not be forewarned that their contracts were up. A company would automatically re-bill people without asking if people wanted to continue with the contract. We outlawed that. We changed the law so that consumers had a choice. Individual Canadians, looking at their needs, could make the choice. We changed the law so that the company could not make it for them. Canadians had to decide whether they wanted to continue to do business with that company or go somewhere else.
That is a concrete example of us taking action on behalf of consumers, which was the appropriate approach for us to take.
We have, without having to regulate, made some changes to the banking system. The white ATMs are in a different bailiwick altogether. The motion before us today deals with banking institutions that have ATMs.
We have indicated to the banks that people need a cooling off period when they use credit cards from a bank. We have introduced a 21-day cooling off period. Why? We did that to protect the consumer. It was not to protect the bank or the credit card company.
We have indicated to the banking industry that we do not think it has done a quality job when looking at its customer base in terms of students and seniors and making sure that they have access.
I have two daughters in university. Access to their bank machine is a big deal to them. Access to a bank machine on their campus made a difference with respect to which bank they would deal with. They made the choice of which bank to choose.
The motion says that it is “uncompetitive”. I have to differ with that opinion. There is choice for consumers. Do we have thousands of banks in Canada? No. We have five big banks, seven other banks that are close, and a number of credit unions. We do have choice.
The other thing we have is considerable confidence in our banks and banking system. The bank will be there tomorrow. Our money is safe in that bank, and we can rely on access to our funds, which does not happen, including in this past year, in some banking systems around the world. All of a sudden, a bank was closing up and people were lined up trying to get their money out. That has never happened in Canada, not in my lifetime. I am not sure what happened during the Depression, to be frank, but in terms of the modern banking system we have now, we do not have those concerns, which is an important piece.
The opposition says in its motion that it is uncompetitive. We on this side of the House encourage competition, particularly in the banking system, as we do in other areas. That is one reason we have looked at trying to open up the market to an approved national credit union system.
At present, the credit unions are under provincial jurisdiction. We have offered to make some changes. I continue to talk to the lobbyists groups with the credit unions to see if they are taking up the cause. There are a few that are big enough to branch out across the country to provide further competition. I am not saying that there cannot be more competition, but I would not phrase the present situation as uncompetitive. However, we are doing some things in this area.
My wife works for Easter Seals, which helps physically disabled children in the province of Ontario. She has indicated to me in the past that there are some important services in the banking area that could help physically disabled people. I know that we on this side have indicated to the banking system that it needs to improve in that area. It needs to make it much more accessible for those who are disabled. That number, unfortunately, is not going to go down, as we have an aging population, including me. There are going to be more people with physical needs accessing these branches and ATMs.
I have heard today that branches and ATMs are closing and that the service is not quite there. It was not that long ago that I was a bank employee. I lasted six whole weeks with the bank. I did not really like it, and so I left. The branch I was in opened at 10 a.m. and closed at 4:30 p.m., and it was not open on Saturdays or Sundays. It was a main branch in a major city in Ontario.
Things have changed, and we have improved access. There is access now through the Internet, which all the banks have for paying bills. I have not paid a bill by mail or at a teller in probably five or six years. I pay everything online out of my account.
In terms of access, the banks are working on it. We need to keep pressuring the banks on that, but I have no issue with it.
There are other things we have done to protect consumers in this realm. For example, the bank used to send me a cheque with my credit card bill. I could use the cheque, and it would go against my credit card. We have ended that practice. We understand that there have been issues. The Minister of Finance has been clear that there have been issues.
The other thing that is very important is to make sure that these issues are brought to our attention by our constituents. We also need to put pressure on the banks and the financial system to improve their customer service and to provide more transparency and information.
There needs to be an understanding of financial literacy. There needs to be an understanding by all of us, including me, of financial literacy so that I understand that when I go to bank B and use my card, it will charge me extra, but if I go to my own bank, they will not. Those kinds of issues need to be taught.
I know it is hard to believe, but as I said, I have one daughter in university. At her school, the one area that has been excellent is that it has a required course on financial literacy. They are university kids. They are managing lots of money, paying their bills, and financing their education. It is an important piece. I think it should be done at a younger age so that people do not get into bad financial habits and go to those white machines to get cash and pay well over $2 or $1.50, just because they are convenient. People have to think about what their financial goals are and how they can manage their money more effectively.
I am working on putting on a financial literacy seminar in my riding. I am finding it a little more difficult than I anticipated to attract people to come to that seminar, but we are working on it, because it is terribly important to make sure that we do.
One other area, particularly with young people in a household, is unsolicited credit cards. We have ended that practice. Nothing drove me crazier than when a bank or a credit card company sent a card to people's houses and said that they had been pre-qualified for an x limit, without actually asking for one iota of information about people. That was, in my view, a formula for disaster for those who were not able to understand what they were signing up for. Our side, looking out for consumers, decided that it was not an appropriate program, and we ended it.
Mr. Speaker, how much time do I have left?
- MPconFeb 03, 2014 11:05 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, February is Heart Month in Canada. Remarkable progress has been made tackling cardiovascular disease. In fact, death rates have declined by more than 75% over the past 60 years. This means that 90% of Canadians who have a heart attack and 80% who have a stroke will survive.
While this is great news, we cannot lose sight of the fact that heart disease and stroke are two of the three leading causes of death in Canada. Today, heart disease and stroke take one life every seven minutes.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation, thanks to its 140,000 dedicated volunteers and two million donors from across Canada, continues to make a real difference in reducing deaths and disability from heart disease and stroke.
We all have a part to play in helping Canadians live the healthiest lives possible. We need to support our constituents in their efforts to make the right choices for their health. By supporting the Heart and Stroke Foundation this February, we can make a real difference for all Canadians.
- MPconJan 30, 2014 10:05 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for his speech. I disagree with much of it.
I have been sitting here all day listening to the speeches, and I am a little concerned that some of the speeches from the opposition benches are saying that the 650 or 600 new sites are going to give bad service, that our veterans and the people of Canada are getting bad service. Why do the opposition members consistently attack our civil servants who work at our Service Canada sites across this country? They give excellent service, and on this side, we are proud of the work they are doing. Why are those members not?
- MPconJan 29, 2014 12:15 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I present a petition from my constituents for the creation of a legislative ombudsman mechanism for responsible mining.
- MPconDec 04, 2013 3:25 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak to my motion, Motion No. 425, in the last couple of minutes. Hopefully, I will not take all my five minutes.
I would like to thank each and every one of my fellow parliamentarians who spoke on the issue. I heard some comments about how the motion did not go far enough and how it did not have enough teeth in terms of what the solutions were. To be frank, I do not have the solutions.
I appreciate the presentation this evening by the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, who also made the point that there could have been more in this motion. However, the fact is, in a very personal presentation on the issue of what this motion would deal with in obesity, I really appreciate the efforts the member made in being here and speaking to the issue.
I brought forward this issue in because of a personal matter. Coming to Ottawa, I gained 30 or maybe 40 pounds. I was not eating healthily. I was participating in all the receptions that go on around here. I was diagnosed with diabetes, as I said in my first speech.
At the time of my first hour, I had two grandmothers who were 96. One passed away between this speech and the last, but we have long life in my family. I thought I was invincible, but none of us are.
The purpose of the motion was to get into a conversation and continue it on all sides of the House about what we needed to do about the issue of obesity and health. For me, physical activity is only one component. I agree with everyone's comments that physical activity is only one component of solving this issue. It is an area where I happen to be able to run marathons and take up running. I have been able to accomplish and challenge myself and to overcome some of my difficulties with obesity and being overweight using physical fitness and better eating habits.
I am encouraging the government to continue to work on this, make it a priority for public health and continue to work with organizations and other government levels to make it happen at all levels. We cannot provide every program federally. We need support from community groups, from other political levels and from other governments to make things happen.
I would appreciate everyone supporting the motion. I hope we continue this conversation after the motion is hopefully passed. The issue of obesity in our children and our health is not just important for individuals; it is also important for their families and for our health care system. I would appreciate everyone's support.
- MPconDec 04, 2013 12:15 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights entitled “Supplementary Estimates (B) 2013-14: Votes 1b, 5b, 35b and 50b under JUSTICE”.
- MPconDec 04, 2013 11:00 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, Crime Stoppers of Halton is an independent charitable organization, governed by a volunteer board of directors, made up of citizens representing all areas of the Halton region. Put simply, it is a three-part approach to solving crime problems. Crime Stoppers relies on co-operation between the police, the media, and the general community to provide a flow of information about crime and criminals.
Since its creation in 1988, Crime Stoppers of Halton has helped the police make over 1,000 arrests, recovering nearly $20 million in money and assets, and it has paid $54,000 in rewards. Halton has been named the safest municipality in Canada. Its Crime Stoppers branch receives 600 tips per year.
Norm Bellefontaine, the chair of Crime Stoppers of Halton, said that he would like to think that Crime Stoppers has been a tool in the toolbox to keep his region safe.
On behalf of the citizens of Burlington, I congratulate the Crime Stoppers of Halton for their 25 years of fantastic service to the community.
- MPconDec 03, 2013 1:35 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I actually really appreciate that question from the member opposite.
First, by definition, a tax credit is to credit people for taxes paid. If they do not pay taxes, they do not get the credit. I am not sure if the member opposite knows, but there are, I believe, three non-refundable tax credits in our system now, only three. I could be corrected on that; it could be five, but there are very few.
I agree that support for those with disabilities is very important. In my home, my wife works for Easter Seals, which provides services and support to families with children with physical disabilities. I completely understand the issue, and I am completely supportive of doing what we can. I am not sure that using the tax system, making tax credits refundable or non-refundable, is the appropriate use of the system in solving the issue that the individual has brought forward.
I am in favour of having non-refundable tax credits because people need to be paying taxes to get their taxes back. There are other methods to attack other issues in all public policy, not just for disabilities.
- MPconDec 03, 2013 1:30 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's questions, and I will say hello to her sister-in-law from Burlington when I see her.
The fact of the matter is that the government looks at all programs, including EI, and we look to where there are efficiencies and effectiveness. I was not at the finance meetings to hear what the public service witnesses had to say, so I am not sure what their testimony was.
I am very proud of this side of the House, this government. When we came to office we looked at the EI program, and the member is absolutely right that EI is funded by the employer and the employee, and we set up a fund for that money to go into so that governments could not take that money and use it for general expenses, as has been the case in previous years. So we set that up and I am happy with what we are doing. It is only appropriate for EI and all programs that the government of the day look at how to be more efficient and more effective in providing the services that those programs are to provide, and I am supportive of what we are doing in the EI program.
- MPconDec 03, 2013 1:20 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak again to Bill C-4. I had the opportunity to speak to it at second reading before it went to committee.
I am happy to talk to my friend from the Liberal Party and ensure that he understands what is in Bill C-4.
What I found funny this week when I was listening was that I was speaker 69 last time and I think the speaker before me wanted to go to the vote on it, and I know we are relatively close to that again this time.
We have had a large number of speakers to the bill. It was funny that we were hearing from the opposition that we were not given enough time to speak on the bill. Then this week, I hear from a number of opposition members that we keep repeating ourselves. We keep repeating ourselves because there is only so much in this bill and everybody understands what is in it. One either agrees or disagrees with it. It is not that complicated.
The opposition says that it is an omnibus bill. Yes, it is a couple of hundred pages: 100 in French, 100 in English. Can they read that? I am not sure. I know I can and I am pretty sure my opposition members can read that much.
Anyway, I want to talk about the areas in Bill C-4, which is the implementation bill of the budget and other measures. People seem to miss the title of the bill, which does say “other measures”. Therefore, it was not just what was in the budget in the spring, but other measures that this government thought were important to bring forward and to get through the House, and I will talk a little about that.
I want to talk about the things that directly affect my riding.
The first thing I want to speak about is the lifetime capital gains exemption basically for small business. The largest employer in my riding has about 600 employees. The municipality, in fact, has about that many employees, or a bit less. The vast majority of employers in my riding are small and medium-sized businesses.
These businesses are often individually owned businesses or group owned. Very few are traded on the stock market, but there are some there, such as financial offices of different organizations in terms of credit. We have components of different larger organizations, but the vast majority are medium-sized businesses owned by small groups of individuals or individuals themselves.
Through this bill, we would increase the capital gains. Business owners could save based on the amount they could retain after they sell their business or pass it on. Small and medium-sized businesses are often passed on to family members. The sale of a business would allow for money to be left in the pockets of the entrepreneurs. They created the jobs and economic activity in my riding and have earned the right to retain earnings. It is their retirement often.
Not all businesses in my riding own their buildings or real estate, for example. Therefore, the retained earnings they would get and the savings they would make on the change to the capital gains exemption would be significant to them, to their families and to their retirement.
We often hear concern about turning a business over, whatever that business might be, because of the cost of capital gains and what would be left in one's pocket after the taxes were paid. This measure would allow for a little more to stay in an owner's pocket, which I think is very important.
The next thing I want to talk about is the accelerated capital cost allowance for clean energy generation equipment.
We have the ACCA on a number of items across the country. It is part of the accounting packages that we allow for accelerated capital cost allowance. Basically, it would allow a company to write-off capital expenditures much faster than it would have been able to under normal charts in terms of expected lifespan. It is an accounting piece that would allow companies to invest in equipment and realize profits from that equipment in a much quicker manner. I am very supportive of that.
Part of it is that we have included clean energy generation and clean energy equipment that did not qualify previously for the accelerated capital cost allowance, and this does that. For companies in my riding, if they are not directly involved in the clean energy generation business but are suppliers of those businesses—for example, parts for equipment they may buy—it makes a significant difference to those small and medium-sized businesses being able to take advantage of that ACCA.
I would now like to talk about the hiring credit for small business. In budget 2011, we brought forward the $1,000 per employee small business hiring credit, and we are continuing that process through Bill C-4. This would allow those small and medium-sized businesses in my riding an opportunity to grow, to provide economic growth not just for Burlington but for Ontario and for Canada.
Growth comes in a number of ways, through sales and so on, and if businesses continue to grow, they often need more people. We want to encourage employment through Bill C-4, through our whole budget, our economic action plan, and this mechanism helps encourage employment, particularly for young people in my riding of Burlington. It is a relatively expensive place to live, and we are having an issue with young people who have grown up and gone to high school in Burlington, have gone away for post-secondary education either at McMaster next door in Hamilton, in the area or across the country, and are having a hard time finding positions to come home to in Burlington. The mayor and the city council have looked at this. The small business hiring credit would assist small businesses in my riding to hire young people and help them get started in their careers after their education.
We are doing what we can federally, as is the municipality through a number of programs, to encourage local employment for young people, particularly ones who have a connection with our community and have added to its quality of life.
The other couple of areas I would speak to are on the other categories in the bill. I am fortunate enough to be the chair of the justice committee, which I will talk about last; but first, I have also been fortunate to be assigned to the citizenship and immigration committee, which is a new experience for me. I had not been on that committee before, and this fall I was asked to sit on the committee. I have enjoyed my time there. Part of the discussion we have been having was with Bill C-4. As members know, there were a number of areas under the “other” category, and the finance committee sent those parts of Bill C-4 to those committees for further study.
At the citizenship and immigration committee, we had the opportunity to talk about two things that are in Bill C-4. One is the passport issue. I think we have done the appropriate thing. People who come into my office to talk to me about passports are somewhat surprised, and even I was surprised, that passports were under Foreign Affairs. In actual fact, we are moving it over to Citizenship and Immigration, where it is more appropriate for it to be managed, and that would make for a better system.
My final point is that the Supreme Court Act was also submitted in Bill C-4 and was referred to my committee. We had excellent committee meetings on this issue. We talked about what we are doing, moving forward, in being able to appoint individuals to the Supreme Court. It was an excellent discussion. We had a number of meetings with a variety of different witnesses, suggested mostly by the opposition, so we were able to deal with that issue and send it back to finance. I think it was the appropriate thing to do.
I am happy to answer any questions that may come my way.
- MPconNov 28, 2013 12:45 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, my colleague gave an excellent speech on this particular topic. We heard a number of speeches in the House on it yesterday, including from the opposition.
In general most of us around the table agree that we need to move forward on the cyberbullying bill and continue to tackle this problem. The minister has been at the justice committee, which I chair, even as of today, defending the estimates. There was a discussion about this particular piece of legislation. The minister clearly indicated that there was no such thing as a warrantless search as there had been in previous legislation that had been brought forward.
My question to my colleague is this. At the end of the day the bill is about protecting victims of cyberbullying. Why do you believe it is important for us as parliamentarians to move to help protect victims of these crimes?
- MPconNov 27, 2013 2:30 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to help support my colleague on this important piece of Canadian heritage. The function of the hon. member's private member's bill is to make sure that we, as Canadians, honour and respect the history and the heritage of hunting and trapping and the individuals who make their living in the heritage industries. It is a way of life in this country that helped to build Canada.
It is important for us, and we have done a very good job over the last number of years as a government to make sure that Canadians understand our historical past and the pieces of history that have shaped this country. I want to make sure Canadians understand what we are doing.
This private member's bill would help us understand where we have come from and would preserve this way of life, the ability of individuals and organizations in this country to continue to fish, hunt, and trap and honour our past and preserve that way of life, whether it is for making a living and actually providing for families and their communities or as a recreational opportunity.
Let us be frank. It is important for me, as somebody from an urban area, from the city of Burlington, Ontario, that I and all members stand together on this private member's bill, Bill C-501, to support those from across the country in honouring a special day of the year, a heritage day for hunting, trapping and fishing. Let me just read out the preamble to the bill, which sums up what we are doing:
Whereas hunting, trapping and fishing are part of our natural heritage; Whereas the Aboriginal peoples of Canada have traditionally participated in hunting, trapping and fishing; Whereas Canada's hunters, trappers and fishers have made a significant contribution to the development of our nation by traversing and mapping the prairies, forests, streams and rivers from coast to coast to coast; Whereas millions of Canadians participate in and enjoy hunting, trapping and fishing; And whereas hunting, trapping and fishing contribute significantly to our national economy....
We would have this special day set aside. I now live in an urban area, and therefore, those who participate in fishing and hunting are recreational hunters and fishers. They are not doing it for a living. However, I grew up in a small town in Ontario, Port Elgin, on Lake Huron. Beside that community is a native reserve, the Saugeen Indian reserve, which I grew up knowing. That reserve actually owns the property that is now Sauble Beach.
Fishing played a very important role in the lives of the first nations, and not just in the past for the aboriginal people fishing out of the Great Lakes. Fishing played a key role in the survival, growth, and development of that aboriginal area, the Saugeen reserve.
I can recall distinctly, growing up, that down at the end of my street, there had been an Indian settlement at one time. We had longhouses redeveloped there. Numerous artifacts from that area were from a fishing village. Their livelihood was not from farming but was from fishing. Most of the artifacts from that area dealt with their fishing existence.
It is important that this heritage day highlight and assist others in remembering where we come from in terms of traditional fishing, hunting, and trapping opportunities and where we will go, as a nation, in the future.
- MPconNov 27, 2013 2:10 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the parliamentary secretary. We have two excellent parliamentary secretaries, as was mentioned. As chair of the justice and human rights committee, we have worked very well with all parties in putting aside the appropriate time to deal with the issues that have come in front of the committee. I assume that will continue in the future.
At the end of the day, Bill C-13, which is related to other legislation that our government has done in the past, is to help protect victims. It is not about the perpetrators. It is about the victims and what we as a government can do to help the security and safety of all Canadians and those who have, unfortunately, become victims.
Could the parliamentary secretary comment on why this is important legislation for victims of cyberbullying?
- MPconNov 18, 2013 12:05 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, entitled “C-489, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (restrictions on offenders)”.
- MPconOct 29, 2013 2:10 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to stand and speak to Bill C-4 today, the last speaker before we vote on this.
Yesterday I heard a lot of discussion from both sides of the House. I want to take a couple of minutes to explain exactly what we are doing here. This is a budget implementation bill. It is the second one. We have one in the spring and one in the fall. It is the traditional way of doing things. We have a budget, and out of that budget, we have to implement what is going on in the budget. That is what this bill does.
I am the 69th speaker to this item. Twenty-two percent of members of the House have spoken to this implementation bill thus far. This is at second reading stage. Then the bill goes to committee, and committee studies the bill. It calls witnesses, has a discussion, and more members of Parliament have an opportunity to comment on the bill. Then the bill comes back to the House for report stage. Then there is another set of speakers to this. Then there is third reading.
More than half the members of the House of Commons have an opportunity to speak to the bill. That is a significant amount of input and debate on this implementation bill.
I have heard over and over about there not being enough time, about closure motions, and about time allocation. The reality is that the public expects us to get things done for them. That is what we are doing here, and that is what the implementation bill does.
I hear about the omnibus bill. The bill is 309 or 312 pages, French and English. I know that I can read 150 pages. I am making the assumption that the opposition members can read 150 pages. I cannot read it in French. I wish I had that talent, but I do not. I do not think there is anything in the bill we need to complain about in terms of there being so much in it that it cannot be understood. Those are not the facts.
We on this side will do our homework. We will do the job we need to do to get things done for Canadians and move things forward. There are many good pieces in this bill. If members do not want to read the whole bill, there are summary pages at the front. In the summary, the very first item is to increase the lifetime capital gains exemption to $800,000 and to index it to inflation. For the first time, it would be indexed to inflation.
We are giving small businesses the opportunity to create jobs and create wealth for them, their families, and their communities. They get to keep it after they have done their jobs. They pass that on to the next generation. They sell it to the next entrepreneur, and they keep building this country through jobs and economic activity. We support small business. We support entrepreneurs, and that is what the implementation bill does. I am very happy that we are getting it done.
Tonight we are voting on it. We will get it to committee and will get it back in this House. Hopefully we will get it passed by Christmas so that people can continue to create good-quality jobs for this country and for our youth, and we will continue to build a great Canada.
- MPconOct 28, 2013 3:25 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have been here all day, and I have been listening to the opposition members saying that we should be spending more and more and more. Then in the same breath, they complain about the deficits the government has had to incur to get us through the financial crisis. It is not even logical that they would say the same thing on two opposite sides. It is hypocritical. Does the member agree that it is hypocritical for members to say to spend more and reduce deficits at the same time?
- MPconOct 21, 2013 9:00 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I think that if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent to present the following motion:
That ways and means Motion No. 1 be deemed adopted on division.
- MPconOct 17, 2013 2:55 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, that is a very good question. I would agree that the motion is not intended to give specifics. That is what motions, in my view, in the House of Commons are for, which is to generate discussion about particular policies or topics.
There is an area where I disagree with the member. I agree that other jurisdictions, industries and health care providers have identified obesity as an issue, but I am not convinced that the Public Health Agency of Canada has made it a priority. The purpose of my motion is to say that we are thinking about this in the House of Commons and we would like to see some action. I am very happy that in the Speech from the Throne there is actually a line regarding obesity and the security of families and children in the future. It is moving up on the ladder of priorities and I am very supportive of our government moving forward with it.
- MPconOct 17, 2013 2:40 pm | Ontario, Burlington
That, in the opinion of the House, the government should continue to: (a) recognize the long-term health risks and costs of obesity in Canada; (b) support, promote and fund organizations and individuals who are involved in the physical well-being of Canadians; and (c) make the reduction of obesity of Canadians a public health priority.
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure this evening to rise to speak to my motion, Motion No. 425, regarding obesity, and the issue that is facing this country.
I want to first thank the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country for his work on the issue of health and fitness, trying to make Canada the fittest country in the world, and on initiating a national fitness day, which I believe next year will be June 7. He is doing great work, and I really appreciate his support.
In this House we are usually talking about policy or legislation. Tonight I am going to take the opportunity to talk about something that has personally affected me and why I brought this motion forward--it is not a bill, but a motion--to bring light to the issue and to have some discussion among our colleagues about what could be happening with our health care in terms of the issue of obesity and looking after one's health.
I thought I would start by telling members a personal story.
I have known four great-grandparents. I have two grandmothers still alive; they are both 96. I have known my grandfathers; they lived into their late eighties. I have a picture of myself, my daughter, my father, his mother, and her mother. It is a five-generation picture.
I have very good genes for long life. We have no heart disease in the family. One grandmother, who is 96, did survive cancer at age 40, a long time ago. Other than that, we have been very lucky with our health.
A year and a half ago, I was having some difficulty, so I went to my doctor. I thought there was something wrong with my prostate; however, I found out that I had diabetes, which was a bit of a shock to me. I thought that I was virtually indestructible because of my genes.
However, my lifestyle included drinking five or six Coca-Colas a day, eating improperly, and not keeping proper hours, in the sense that these are long days. It is a really interesting career one chooses in federal politics, and travelling back and forth, not eating breakfast, and just not doing things correctly, I gained weight here, as I know some of us all have. I was about 225 pounds at one point. I hid it well with big suits.
Things changed for me. I went to the doctor; I was having some difficulty. Lo and behold, they claimed that I had diabetes. Of course, my first reaction was to say, “No way. That is not possible. How is that possible when I have no diabetes in my family, when I have no heart disease?” My blood pressure was excellent. It still is excellent. However, my sugar levels were through the roof.
The doctor indicated that if I continued, I had a chance of my pancreas getting worse. I would have to take insulin, and so on and so forth. The doctor diagnosed me with type 2 diabetes—not type 1, of course, which is juvenile diabetes—and put me on a pill, Metformin, which is the standard thing they start a diabetes patient on. I told the doctor I did not want to take pharmaceuticals if I did not have to and asked if there was a way for me to do something about it.
He indicated that it was possible—not likely, but possible—that if I lost weight and exercised regularly, I might be able to get off Metformin.
I took his advice. I started exercising again. I set a goal for myself to run a marathon in every province; I have run six. I just ran one this past weekend, in Victoria, British Columbia. I do not advise everyone that they have to run marathons to get healthy, but I have taken on that task. I eat better, I have lost weight, and I am not on Metformin anymore. It has been about a year.
What woke me up to this issue is that I really did not pay attention. I have two daughters who are athletes. One is on a sports scholarship at a university in the United States. The other plays competitive volleyball. They are both in very good shape. Obesity and diabetes were never an issue around our house. All of a sudden there was something there.
I started thinking that if it could happen to me, what about everybody else? I started looking around and talking to different individuals and organizations about what is happening. In that time frame, even the United States had announced that obesity was actually a disease and that if it did not get on top of it, it would become a real health care issue for them.
Based on the motion, I have broken it down into three pieces. This is just to get people to think about where we are going from a health perspective.
The first part of the motion is to recognize the long-term health risks and costs of obesity. I can put a lot of statistics out there and talk about the costs of obesity and the like. However, it is just common sense. If people are not healthy, they will be using the system. There is no magic to it or statistician's formula. I am always a little nervous about statisticians. If I give my friend a dollar today and a dollar tomorrow, there is a 100% increase yet it is still only a dollar, so one has to be careful with that.
The reality is that if we look around at what we are eating and what we are doing in terms of being healthy, there will be a long-term cost to our health care system. Members may not like the way I put this but at the federal level health care is writing cheques to the provinces that deliver the actual health care. That is a lot of pressure, not necessarily on the federal system but on the provincial system. In general, we need to worry about the costs with respect to health care.
We also need to worry about the health risks. It is claimed, and I hope it is not true, that we might be the last generation with the ability to outlive our children. Imagine a generation that is unable to outlive its children. That is just not right and not what I think should happen. However, if we do not do something in terms of looking after our health, that is an actual and real possibility. I do not think that is something we want.
The second part of the motion is about supporting the promotion of health and healthy living, not just financially but in other ways. There are a number of great organizations. Some are not for profit and others are for profit. I have no issue with that. I just want to highlight a couple.
There are organizations that are oriented toward health issues. For me, the Diabetes Association has been fantastic. It provided me with a lot of information about what diabetes was, what I could do about it and the two different types. There is the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the lung associations. There are a number of organizations that do great work.
My motion asks that all levels of government, federal, provincial and municipal, continue to support those organizations in their efforts. That does not necessarily mean we have to write them a cheque. Rather, it means going to their events and supporting their efforts in the communities. If one has a neighbour or friend who is running in a marathon, which I do, in support of diabetes, support that individual. Those groups are doing great work in their areas of expertise and are important in terms of not only helping those with the disease or health issue they are dealing with but at promoting awareness and education and they need to do that.
Another organization, which I am very excited about and which the Government of Canada has supported, is ParticipACTION. I am a keen supporter of organizations that get people moving and healthy. It does not have to be running. It can be karate. It can be whatever activity one wants to do. I want to encourage people to take advantage of what these organizations do. We do not have to be experts at whatever we are doing.
I ran my marathon this weekend in four hours and 42 minutes. The gentleman sitting beside me in the plane coming back ran it in two hours and 19 minutes. I was exactly halfway when he was finished. We have to just get out there and get involved. If members could, I want them to encourage neighbours, friends and communities. Whatever is happening in a community, if members of Parliament could, they should help support those organizations.
There are for-profit organizations that are helpful, and I'll use the Weight Watchers organization as an example. I think it is an excellent organization. I have not personally used it. I lost my 25 or 30 pounds basically by eating less and not drinking Coke, which I miss. However, people do need help and there are organizations that will help and they are doing a great job.
Another organization in my community that has recognized this issue is Big Brothers Big Sisters. It has a program for the clients they serve, the young people, because youth is a big issue. If we do not convince youth to take care of themselves both by eating healthily and keeping physically fit, there will be a problem. Big Brothers Big Sisters has a program for those young people to make sure they understand what good health is, what good fitness is and what good eating is. I applaud its efforts.
As I mentioned before, one of my daughters goes to school in Indiana and she is in an education program. It was interesting to hear this past week that in one of the courses she takes, which talks about introducing healthy eating and activity into the classroom, it used Canada as an example of how it is done well. I am very supportive of our education system, and I think it does a good job, but we need to continue to support it to make sure physical activity does not leave the curriculum of our Canadian school children, particularly those at a young age, and ensure that other things do not ease it out, being more of a priority. Health is a priority and we need to teach young folks that piece.
The last piece I have to talk about is the public health priority. I think it is fair to say that the public health policy here at the federal level has been somewhat lacking in the obesity and fitness area over the last number of years. It just has not made it to the top as a priority piece. I am hopeful that will change under our government and with the support of all members.
If members look at the throne speech from yesterday, under safeguarding families and communities, they will see that the government will also work with provinces, territories and not-for-profit sectors to encourage young Canadians to be more physically active. I did not know that would be in the speech. I have had this motion in front of the House for a while, because it kept getting bumped for other private member's motions that I felt were of higher priority in terms of timing. So this was a very pleasant surprise for me, and as a member of Parliament, I am going to use it to encourage my government to be proactive in making sure we meet the mandate we have put in this throne speech over the next number of years.
I thank members for their attention and for their attention to their own health and their family's health. I would be happy to answer any questions.
- MPconOct 17, 2013 2:25 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I hope my colleague on the other side can explain to this side of the House why the Liberals are so confused about prorogation.
Let me just go through it. The 37th Parliament, which was a majority with Chrétien and Martin, had three sessions and two prorogations. The 36th Parliament, which was a majority with Chrétien, had two sessions and one prorogation. The 35th Parliament, which was a majority with Chrétien, had two sessions and one prorogation.
Let us go to Trudeau. The 32nd Parliament, the Trudeau-Turner majority, had two sessions and one prorogation. The 30th Parliament, with a Trudeau majority, had four sessions and three prorogations.
I could go on and on. It is a process that has happened year after year in this House. Why is the Liberal Party claiming we did something that is not normal? Do the Liberals not understand Canada's history? Do they not understand how it works around here?
- MPconOct 17, 2013 12:00 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, for too long the voices of victims have been silenced while the system, and yes, that includes the Liberals and the NDP, coddled criminals. The opposition even opposed us repealing Pierre Trudeau's faint hope clause which gave murderers a shot at an early parole.
Will the minister explain our upcoming agenda to support and protect Canadian families?
- MPconOct 17, 2013 9:55 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, there were two parts of the hon. member's speech. The end of the speech was about trust and having Canadians trust what is going to be done for them, and as an opposition leader should do, the member criticized the government's plans. However, the only plan we have heard from the third party is that the member would legalize drugs.
Were there any economic plans he would like to share, and build trust with Canadians, that he has developed? Are we waiting? What are we waiting for, or do the Liberals just not have any?
- MPconOct 17, 2013 7:10 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have a petition here signed by a large number of constituents of mine from the Roman Catholic faith who were upset and appalled by the CBC program This Hour Has 22 Minutes when it made fun of the sacrament of Holy Communion, which they found to be a very objectionable and disrespectful attack on their faith. I would like to put that on the table.
- MPconJun 18, 2013 4:20 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague in the Conservative Party, who is a very good member of the justice committee. I mentioned that to make sure people know that just because he sits on that side of the House it does not mean he is not a Conservative. In fact, he is more Conservative than many of us on this side of the House.
The member is good at reading legislation placed in front of a committee and challenging witnesses on statements. Why is it important to have the facts in front of witnesses, or a member of Parliament, when dealing with a legislative committee like the justice committee?
- MPconJun 18, 2013 9:30 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, there has been consultation among the parties and I believe it is possible that you could find unanimous consent for the following motion:
That Bill S-15, an act to amend the Canada National Parks Act and the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act and to make consequential amendments to the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, be taken up at the report stage later today.
- MPconJun 17, 2013 8:50 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I found one of my hon. colleague's comments interesting. Maybe the member is not aware, so I would like to bring his to attention this. It was the discussion about medical experts and having them comment. The review panels at present are composed of three members, and one of them is a judge and not a medical expert. There was an amendment put forward that the committee did not accept because it would have limited the panel to medical experts only. However, the review panels already have judicial expertise on them.
Based on the presentation tonight, is the member recommending that those voices not be heard and that, for example, there would be changes to the review panels so they would consist of all medical experts and no longer have judicial representation on them?
- MPconJun 17, 2013 8:30 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for attending those meetings and for bringing forward amendments. I also thank her for her professionalism at committee.
The fact is that the minister came to committee and talked about consultation. There was consultation across this country with every provincial government of every stripe, and the discussion was that we needed to move forward on this high-risk designation.
We as a Conservative government like to take action. We like to move forward. We like to make decisions on what we should be doing and address whatever problem comes to our attention. In this case, there have been a number of issues across this country with respect to those who have been found NCR committing brutal, serious, personal criminal offences. We consulted with the provinces and with those in the business of prosecuting those offences. We asked what solutions they would like to see come forward in terms of changes to the legislation. Consultation was done, as the minister put forward, and that is why this bill is here today. We heard over and over again from victims at committee that we should pass this legislation as soon as possible.
- MPconJun 17, 2013 8:25 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, there are a number of things in this legislation for victims, including one of the amendments that was brought forward by the New Democratic Party, which we unanimously accepted.
The amendment included a notification, if a victim asked to be notified, of where someone with a high-risk NCR designation would be living afterwards.
There is notification of when that discharge would happen. There are non-communication changes so that victims do not have to run into or have communication with someone who has a high-risk designation. We are ensuring the safety of victims.
One area I heard mentioned over and over again as I was chairing the justice committee was the review board. Every year victims go and listen to the review board's recommendations. They listen to the discussion and the evidence. They have to relive their victimization. They have to relive the serious offence that happened to them or their family.
This legislation allows for a longer-term period of healing for those victimized families.
- MPconJun 17, 2013 8:20 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I have had the opportunity to be at the committee that she chairs. She does an excellent job as chair. I wanted to point that out.
I am guessing that there will be some costs. If it is a provincial court, the provincial court will bear those costs. If it is Federal Court, we will bear those costs. For the small number of people who I think will be designated high-risk NCR, I think the Canadian public would be more than willing to spend a few of their hard-earned tax dollars to make sure that the public is safe. There is a sense of safety in designating someone as high-risk NCR.
This is not about dollars and cents. This is about the security of mentally ill individuals, the public and the community, and rightly so. I did not even get to this part of the bill, but there is a section on protecting victims from being re-victimized. I do not think it is a tax issue. It is something that we need to do, something that this bill would do, and it is long overdue.
- MPconJun 17, 2013 8:05 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is my honour this evening to speak to Bill C-54. It is also my honour to be the chair of the justice committee, which has recently dealt with the discussion on this piece of legislation.
I want to thank the committee for its work. We had extended hours. We invited a number of witnesses from all sides of the debate on this particular issue. The committee worked very well together and very hard at hearing everyone out. We had a number of interruptions with bells and a number of other votes that happened within, but we were able to get through the presentations in a very respectful way as a committee. We heard from all sides, whether they were victims, victims' family members, those representing the mental health side of the equation, such as associations, legal opinion and health care workers in the mental health area. It was a very good discussion.
I also want to thank our clerk, Jean-François Pagé, who did a fabulous job on very short notice, making arrangements for very balanced panels for us to see. Also, the analysts and the legislative clerks helped us.
I also want to thank the leader of the Green Party who joined us at committee with a number of amendments. It does not happen that often. It is some sort of a new process for committees to have independents sit at the table with us when we go through legislation and contribute to the discussion on amendments that they bring forward. I appreciate that.
I do appreciate the professionalism of the committee in dealing with a number of amendments. I believe there were 52 or 54 amendments in front of us. We did accept amendments. One came from the government side, one from the New Democratic side and one from a Liberal member. They were accepted and in fact there was some crossover between the two opposition parties.
Let me take just a few minutes to review exactly what Bill C-54 actually would do. There is lots of rhetoric about what the bill would do; we heard some of it this evening. I want to be as factual, as clear and as precise as possible on the changes to the NCR regime that now exists. These would be amendments to an existing not criminally responsible regime, which we think are needed to make our system better. It is not to change, to stigmatize, as we have heard from others tonight. It is actually to improve the justice system.
There is nothing wrong with improvements to the justice system. There is nothing wrong with improvements to any system. That is why we are here as legislators. We look at what is happening. We see what is actually happening on the ground after we make laws. Sometimes we do not get it completely right. Sometimes, over time, things change and we need to make changes. That is all we would be doing. We would be making some amendments to this to deal with a few high-risk accused situations.
Bill C-54 would create a new application process to obtain a finding from a court that an NCR accused is a high-risk accused. The high-risk accused finding would result in the disposition requiring detention of the accused in a hospital until the court revokes the findings.
Let us be clear about this. There is an NCR regime at present. A court can find someone not criminally responsible at present, or NCR. They do not go to jail. That is what NCR is about. They need help. They have a mental issue through no fault of their own. Based on the evidence that is provided, a court can make a judgment that this individual is not criminally responsible for the actions he or she has taken. Some of them can be very horrific, some at a different level, but it is still their mental capacity that has been the issue.
Do they go to jail? What the previous speaker said, that the system would send them back to sort of rot in jail longer, is not the case. In the present regime, someone who is designated NCR gets help. He or she gets hospitalized, basically.
At present, there is a review board to see how they have done. It is an annual review. The victims would have to come and listen to the progress the individual has made, and a review board would decide whether the individual needs to continue treatment. It is not punishment, it is treatment.
All we are doing is, first, saying that in some very specific situations, some NCR-designated individuals are of high risk, both to themselves and to the public. We are defining a different and added category in this piece of legislation. Would it apply to everyone who is designated NCR? Absolutely not. That is not what it is designed for. That is not how we expect it to be used. There was some discussion about a burden on the courts system. That would not be a result. There would be very few cases in Canada annually. In fact, I hope it would never be used, to be honest. It would be great if the high-risk designation in NCR were never required. However, it may be required and we need to have the legislation in place to provide that designation for a court to determine.
The application would have been made by the prosecutor before an absolute discharge could be ordered. That means that the government prosecution would have to decide whether someone really is high risk, so there is a burden of proof in terms of whether the individual is high risk before a prosecutor could bring it forward.
The high-risk accused finding would only be available in cases involving serious personal injury offences that resulted in a verdict of NCR. Therefore, they need to know that the person has been found NCR already. As well, it is what we call an “incident”, not a crime that leads to jail, because these people need hospitalization. The incident would have to be an offence that involved serious personal injury and the accused would be 18 years of age or more. Therefore, it would not be used for children or young offenders, it would be for adults. We need to ensure that everybody understands that.
To determine a finding of high-risk accused, the court would have to be satisfied that there is a substantial likelihood that the accused would use violence that could endanger the life or safety of the public. The safety of the public would become paramount in this high-risk category. I would suggest that also safety of oneself would also have some consideration. At committee, we did hear it stated that, based upon actual court cases in the past, public safety is a priority. All this legislation would do is codify that and put it in the legislation, not just by jurisprudence of what has happened in different court cases.
The court could also make the high-risk accused finding if it were of the opinion that the acts that constitute the offence were of such a brutal nature they would indicate a grave risk of harm to another person. Therefore, an individual is found NCR and based on the evidence the court has determined that the individual needs hospitalization and needs help with the mental illness that has caused this serious offence. It is not just any serious offence, but one of a brutal nature that would cause the court to look at whether the high-risk category should apply. The court would consider all relevant evidence, including the nature and the circumstances of the offence, any relevant pattern of repetitive behaviour, the accused's current mental condition, the past and expected course of treatment and the accused's willingness to follow treatment, as well as expert opinions.
We heard in the last speech about the committee not accepting the amendment on medical experts. Based upon the input we got on that amendment, we had a full discussion on that amendment. Experts from the ministry of justice were there. They indicated that by putting medical experts as an amendment it may limit who we could ask on this and that not everyone who may have expertise on determining some of these criteria would be a licensed medical individual. There could be others involved, from a social services point of view, from other areas, who would be able to help in determining some of these circumstances and the nature of the offence, the pattern or premise, who may not have a medical designation. That is why we wanted to leave it open, so that all expert opinions could be sought. They would still have to be experts. We would not just be asking anyone.
If the court makes the high-risk accused finding, a disposition requiring detention of the accused in a hospital must be made. I think that is an important thing to indicate.
We are not talking about removing the hospitalization aspects and sending people to jail because they are high risk. It is determining that they go to a hospital that would handle their NCR issue if the offence were brutal in nature and that there were a high risk it may reoccur or that they could hurt themselves. And so, it is still a hospitalization. This does not remove that aspect of NCR and send them to jail but give them help.
No conditions permitting absences from the hospital would be authorized unless a structured plan was prepared to address the risk to the public, and only with an authorized escort.
If we were to go down my street in Burlington, Tuck Drive, and told people that, at present, somebody who has committed a brutal offence and has been found NCR, within the year, without a structured plan, would be able to go on an unescorted release, I would say the people on my street would be shocked that is what the law is at present.
All this is saying is that for those who are found NCR and then high risk, there would be a structured plan to address the public aspects and authorized escorted release. That is not saying they would not get to go out in public. We would try to help them with their plan to be reintegrated, but not on their own at that particular time as a high-risk NCR individual. They would have to be escorted so we could review what they were doing.
I think that is common sense. I do not think the public would be upset that those escorted absences were only a decision-making process and could impose a non-communication, non-attendance condition in order to ensure their own safety.
It just makes sense to me that we would have that ability, that condition in this bill, and it is surprising that it does not exist at present.
I want to talk briefly about what the bill does not do. Bill C-54 does not seek to punish individuals who have been found by the courts to be not criminally responsible on account of their mental disorder. It is not jail time. We want to make sure that is there.
I can tell members the witnesses we heard from were all excellent witnesses. They all brought an expertise to the table, whether a victim or an individual representing the legal field or the mental health field. However, when questioned on the specifics of the wording of the bill, of the different clauses, it was interesting to see that this is what they thought could happen but it was not actually the wording of the bill.
Nothing in Bill C-54 would affect the access of mentally disordered accused persons to mental health treatment. There is no prohibition to their getting help. With this bill, accused persons would still be NCR. They would get a high-risk designation and they would still be hospitalized. The government would be there to help them overcome the mental illness that caused the serious and brutal actions to take place. The government wants them to get better and to be integrated back into society. We have a responsibility as a government to make sure that high-risk individuals get the treatment they need.
Bill C-54 does not seek to stigmatize the mentally ill. The bill does not suggest that mentally ill people commit crimes or are dangerous. The bill does not say that. People came to see me in my office. I agree that the messaging from all of us here is that the support in this bill does not suggest that we are stigmatizing mental illness.
We know people need help. We know that happens. As a government, we put together the mental health strategy, and the high-risk category does not apply to everyone who has a mental illness. It would apply to very few individuals. The new high-risk NCR accused finding does not create the presumption of dangerousness. Rather, it focuses on a relatively small group of NCR accused persons who qualify for the high-risk finding.
The other item that is important to understand is twofold. One, the review board still exists and the review board is still required to provide information on how individuals are progressing through their treatment. The review board change is simple. Right now it is every year that victims attend to hear how the perpetrators are doing. They are re-victimized over and over again. The bill would make it up to every three years. We are adding two years. The review board could make a decision of up to three years.
The only other major change, which was highlighted by a question from my colleague in the Conservatives, is that a judge would determine whether a person is high risk. I have faith in the court system, and if that happens, a judge would decide, based on the evidence, including the review board evidence, whether individuals have accomplished what they needed to do in that high-risk designation, at which point the NCR designation can be removed and people can be reintegrated into society.
Those are two of the changes. If a judge determines that someone is high risk and NCR, that judge has the ability, the authority and the responsibility to determine when those designations will be removed.
- MPconJun 17, 2013 7:30 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, whether it is 7%, 9% or 30%, does the public not deserve protection from that 7%, 9% or 30%, whatever the percentage is? Do we just forget about these people? These are high-risk individuals. There will be very few designations under this new category. Do those 7% of victims not deserve this government's protection?
- MPconJun 17, 2013 7:20 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member participates on the committee, and I thank him for the efforts he puts forward. I have a speech in a few minutes that will highlight the work we did together as a committee.
I do not want to say I take exception exactly, but I disagree a bit the the wording that says we were stigmatizing those with mental health issues, and there was an issue with statistics; for repeat offenders, it was a question of whether it was 7% or 40%.
This bill focuses on a very narrow group of individuals who are potentially dangerous through no fault of their own, but due to mental issues that they are facing. It is a very small group. Whether 7% or 40%, does the member not agree that the victims of these individuals still require the protection that this bill would offer?
- MPconJun 17, 2013 11:10 am | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, in my community, the charitable sector makes a significant impact. As a member of Parliament, I like to volunteer in support of these organizations.
I have been a celebrity dancer in the Dancing with the Stars Halton competition for Easter Seals, which I lost, by the way. I was a model and auctioneer for the Joseph Brant Hospital fashion show. I think I was the "before" of the before and after models. I walked a kilometre in women's high heels as a participant in the Hope in High Heels fundraiser for Halton Women's Place. Those shoes hurt and they were red. I was a young Elvis in an Elvis-impersonator contest for the Compassion Society of Halton. I sang Hound Dog, and I sounded like one.
I want to thank the charities in my community for allowing me to volunteer to be part of their efforts to raise money and awareness in Burlington. As a member of Parliament, I should be an asset to my community's charities and not an expense.
- MPconJun 13, 2013 2:20 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I will not comment on the comments by the member for Malpeque. I will go to his retirement party when he has it.
Mandatory minimums were not invented by this government. They existed in many parts of the Criminal Code prior to our attaining government. In fact, the Liberal Party of Canada instituted a number of mandatory minimums in a number of areas.
We have, and I think we have done the right thing, increased some of those mandatory minimums throughout the Criminal Code. I am confident that keeping criminals in jail for a longer time protects people, including those in my riding.
- MPconJun 13, 2013 2:15 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for meeting with his constituents and discussing different issues, which we all do. We all get input on a variety of issues.
I can honestly say that I have not heard that suggestion before. I am not fortunate enough to have a large native population in my riding. There are no reserves in my riding. I have not heard about the issue of taxation, but I think this issue is more than about taxation. It is about more than whether the government is losing out on taxation on the sale of cigarettes. There are more important issues. Making this part of the Criminal Code, making the trafficking of this particular drug illegal, sends the message that this is a health issue and not just a tax issue.
- MPconJun 13, 2013 2:10 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, we have had a very full legislative agenda, and this is one item. There is nothing wrong with legislation being introduced in the other place and brought here. It speeds things up. It makes things more efficient and effective.
On that point, the member opposite should ask her House leader why New Democrats did not agree to a certain number of speaking slots and agree to move this bill forward. It would be a very good question for the member to ask her own House leader.
I am looking forward to the report from the RCMP task force to see what resources are needed to solve this problem.
- MPconJun 13, 2013 2:00 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Well, the Liberal Party member at the committee was grateful for that and we made a significant difference. We did hear from the NDP on the same thing. However, our House has offered on a number of occasions recently that we would take a number of spots.
The Liberal Party was offered a number of spots. This was not a secret. It was presented in the House. A number of spots, which was significantly more, maybe seven to 10 times more than the other two parties, were offered to move things forward so that we did not have to move time allocation. That was rejected. Why was that rejected? I do not know why.
I have no issue on bills on which I think there is a significant political difference. However, this bill, and I am using it as an example, I think everyone in the House would like to see go to second reading so that they can have witnesses, have a discussion and move forward on it. We may not completely agree to it in the end, but this is at second reading.
There is an opportunity to move this forward. In my view, that would give us opportunities, in terms of the timeframe, since we only have so much time in the House to debate issues, for other more divisive issues.
Listening to the speeches today, everyone has been pretty much in favour of getting this to second reading. To be frank, as a backbencher, I do not know why time allocation had to be an issue. We should all have been able to agree to a different number of time slots. However, that did not happen.
My hope for the fall is that everyone, from all sides, will work together to make sure that bills on which there is general agreement, at least to go to second reading, we will be able to move forward. Bills on which we have a more fundamental difference of opinion we would spend more time on. After seven years of being here, that has been my frustration as an individual member of Parliament. There have been some issues in that area.
I am looking forward to the bill going to second reading. As chair of the justice committee, I am looking forward to getting that organized early in the fall. This will be one of the first pieces of legislation we will deal with. I am looking forward to learning what people and different organizations believe this will do. I am also looking forward to our coming together as a Parliament and promoting this so that we can get the task force in place to target organized crime, go after these issues and make a difference.
The RCMP is an excellent choice to be doing this. I know that there was talk about the Canada Border Services Agency and their role here, and they do have a role. However, I think when we, through this bill, put an emphasis on the fact that it is a criminal offence and that the nation's police force is in charge of that task force, it gives it the authority, the significance and the attention it needs.
I am looking forward to supporting the bill going to committee. Hopefully, it goes to my justice committee, we have a great discussion on it and we get it passed early in the fall.
- MPconJun 13, 2013 1:50 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak today to Bill S-16, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in contraband tobacco) and the proposed amendments to the Criminal Code to create a new offence of trafficking of contraband tobacco.
I have been here for most of the day listening to the speeches on Bill S-16. As chair of the Standing on Justice and Human Rights, it is my understanding the bill will go to the justice committee for review and just as we reviewed Bill C-54, we accepted amendments from both the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party last night. Today I tabled the report in the House. It was well analyzed with a number of witnesses, From those witnesses, a number of amendments were proposed and in fact accepted. The amendments from the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party all passed.
Bill S-16 started in the Senate and we are debating it at second reading right now. There will be a vote, hopefully in the very near future, and Bill S-16 will move to committee where a number of the questions that have been asked today will be properly vetted with witnesses and bureaucrats who are responsible for implementing these changes so we understand what the effect will be on the Criminal Code.
The bill would provide mandatory minimum penalties of imprisonment of persons who are convicted for a second or subsequent time of this offence. It is important for everyone to understand that the mandatory minimum approach we have taken on a number of bills is important to give gravitas to the issue in front of us.
It is very important that we send a message to those who are in the business of contraband tobacco, whether they are traffickers, or selling it in small components to individuals, that it is illegal. It was indicated earlier that those who were in the business of not obeying the law often took into account what the penalties would be and used that as part of the cost of doing business. If there are no mandatory minimums, just fines, they price that risk in their product. They will decide what risk level they are willing to take.
It is important, not just in this case, but in many cases that the Government of Canada look at mandatory minimums, and we are doing it in this bill, so we let those who are willing to break the law and circumvent it know that there is a real penalty to be paid, a much more difficult penalty they cannot include in the cost of doing business.
I am fully in favour of mandatory minimums and in this case new mandatory minimums for this new level of offence. I believe it is fair. We are saying that it only will apply after people's second offence. Let us for argument sake, that individuals who make a mistake, are caught up or there is peer pressure, whatever the issue might be and they become involved with contraband tobacco. There is no mandatory minimum for that. However, if people make the mistake twice, they have consciously made that effort. They have built in the cost of making that mistake the first time and are now doing it another time.
It is time for the Government of Canada, through the Criminal Code, to say to them that they knew what they were doing. They broke the law and faced a penalty previously, but now they face a much more severe one with a mandatory minimum. I have no issue with that. My true belief is that the vast majority of the people of Burlington also believe in mandatory minimums.
There is another very important piece to the bill. As member of Parliament, every two or four years if we are in a minority position, we have a platform. Every party has a platform. We go to the people and talk about what we will accomplish if they give us the confidence to form government.
Fortunately for us, in 2011 the public gave the Conservative Party of Canada a majority in the House of Commons. Part of that decision making of the people of Burlington and the rest of Canada was our platform. What did the party stand for?
There are certainly other factors. There is the leader, the policy of the party, the platform during an election and the individual candidate. I would hope that some people in Burlington voted for me because they liked me, but I cannot prove that. It might be my wife and maybe my daughter, but I cannot prove that either.
People talked to me during the election about the platform and what we were proposing to do if we formed government. Part of that 2011 election platform was a commitment to reduce the problem of trafficking of contraband tobacco by establishing mandatory jail time for repeat offenders of trafficking in contraband tobacco.
It was clearly stated in our platform. In fact, part of my literature and part of the campaigning I did included a discussion on mandatory minimums. This was part of what we promoted.
That was two years ago. Some people think it has taken us a while to get here. I do not hear much about in my riding, but my colleagues in caucus were persistent that we needed to move on this, that it was a real issue for them in their ridings. It could be an issue in my riding of which I am not aware.
I am fortunate enough that I and my wife are non-smokers. My two daughters who are young adults are non-smokers. They will have a number of their peers over to our house. There could be as many as a couple of dozen and there are no smokers in that group. I do not have the exposure to that. However, I have been told that it is an important issue at the high schools in my area.
We have the ability to look at what we promised during the election and what we are able to deliver to the people of Burlington and to the rest of the people of Canada. We are moving on that. It took some time. I think we took the appropriate amount of time to look at options to tackle this problem.
This is not an easy problem to tackle. As we have just heard, there are a number of sources for contraband tobacco. It could be offshore or domestic. It could be from south of the border. The sources are difficult. The ability to track and find these sources is a difficult one for police and border services officers.
We promised mandatory minimums in our election platform. We have brought forward some legislation that will meet the commitment we made to the public. We have also said that we cannot just put mandatory minimums in without providing some resources to ensure we can implement them. That is why we have created a special task force, I believe it is up to 50 officers from the RCMP, to tackle this problem.
Having 50 officers will not end the problem overnight, but it is a great start for us to tackle this issue. It has put a focus on the problem that we have been having in our country and, in particular, in certain parts of Ontario to a greater extent than others. It has affected not only certain ridings based on production, but also the distribution. A number of small business owners have come to me and have sent me letters. I have had them in my office talking to me about what this is doing to their businesses.
I am not a proponent of smoking. My mother-in-law had lung cancer. She has had one lung removed. She was a smoker. She has been very fortunate as she is a survivor of cancer. Her lung cancer was over 12 years ago and she lost her brother to lung cancer through smoking. Therefore, smoking, from our family's perspective, is very much frowned upon. We have been lucky that, through the health system, she went on some experimental drugs and her cancer was cured, and we are very grateful for that. We are not big proponents, and that is why I am very much in support of this bill.
I started the conversation of there being mandatory minimum sentences. Let us be honest, some are more significant than others. For those caught in the trafficking aspects, it is up to six months. If it is an indictable offence, it is up to five years. It is significant and I do not deny it. However, it is a significant problem that these individuals have created. We talked about the cost to the health care system and so on, but to me personally it is not about the cost to the system, it is about protecting people's health when contraband tobacco products hit the market.
We know cigarettes are better regulated, produced and properly labelled by a licensed facility. We know they are a health issue. People are well warned on the packaging, which we have increased as a government. It is not any surprise to anyone at any age that these are health hazards. However, the health hazards of tobacco products that are not labelled, and we do not know where they came from and what is in them, are tenfold what the legitimate cigarette producers ensure on those warnings. We have not a clue what is in those other products. That is why we need these penalties to be significant and severe, and I believe this bill would do that.
We have heard from other members today. I do not want to repeat the number of cigarettes that are involved or the kilograms. That information has all been put forward.
The other thing I would like to talk about is why we are moving on this. There was discussion about time allocation on this bill. I believe it is a two-way street in the House, maybe even three-way if there is such a thing. We need to start to work together. We had an example yesterday where we looked at Bill C-54. We had amendments proposed by the opposition. The vast majority of them did not past, but we did accept one from each party. We have seen—
- MPconJun 13, 2013 12:05 pm | Ontario, Burlington
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
During routine proceedings today, I was presenting a petition and it was indicated to me that I was a little bit snippy with the Speaker. I just want to stand and apologize for that.
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