- MPndpMar 13, 2015 7:55 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his great analysis.
When he was speaking, I was harking back to 2011 when I was invited to Oakland for an international conference on HIV-AIDS prevention and how to deal with it. Guess who was the keynote speaker? It was the model of prevention, our friends from Vancouver. We were on the international stage, but, meanwhile, back home the government was challenging them. I was asked as a Canadian politician to explain that and I could not. However, at the same time, Oakland had declared a state of emergency because of HIV-AIDS. The people were saying that we had to stop locking up people for drug use and start helping them. They were really looking to Canada as a world leader in this area because we were seen as a model.
How is this health approach important versus the public safety approach? It is despicable that people would try to make money off victims. Maybe you could talk about the different approaches of health versus public safety.
- MPndpMar 12, 2015 1:55 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, it is interesting. I should note that on Bill C-51, unlike the Liberal Party, we are stating exactly where we stand. We are against Bill C-51. It is for reasons around oversight, et cetera, but also because we are taking a stand. We are not saying that later on when we are government we will fix it all. That is a little arrogant. We have heard that from the Liberal Party before. At some time it has to take a stand in this place. I know it is difficult for the Liberal Party, but it has to take a stand.
We have taken a stand on Bill S-7. We are opposed to it at second reading. I have just laid out why. Polygamy is illegal, if he is worried about that. I know it is tough for him because Liberals are saying they do not like Bill C-51. However, they are going to put forward amendments, knowing that they are going to be defeated and then they will vote for it. If someone can actually understand that I give them credit.
Here we go with the Liberal Party again trying to find a niche where it can actually open up its own rationale. It is just not working. That is why I am proud to be a member of my party. We take a principled stand and we stick with it because that is where our values are.
- MPndpMar 12, 2015 1:50 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, I did not mean to get the member's dander up. I was simply pointing out the fact that the government has absolutely abandoned the principles of democratic reform when it has bills coming from the Senate and time allocation, 91 times limiting debate.
I have to add another little caveat. To his saying that we are repeating our points of debate too often, each person gets to decide how they articulate their points. I brought in new points. I was talking about the fact that the government has failed those who are legitimately married who are waiting for the government to process things. However, it is interesting, coming from a party that every day has the same talking points reiterated over and over. However, that is for him to figure out.
When it comes to democracy, the best thing is debate and there should not be time limits on it, certainly not 91 times. That is just not the way it should be in the House.
- MPndpMar 12, 2015 1:40 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, I join my colleagues on this side of the House to speak in opposition to Bill S-7.
I have to, as I always do when we get bills with the letter “S” in front of them, note my opposition to having bills derive from the other place. We are elected in this House to represent Canadians; they are not. In a mature democracy all bills should come from the House of Commons, the appropriate place for bills to originate. We see a government that used to talk about political reform and the reform of our parliamentary democracy use this parlour trick over and over again. As a democrat, I object to it and most of my constituents do. I note that in this case, Bill S-7 comes from the Senate and I want to state my opposition to that continued abuse of our parliamentary democracy.
I want to touch on another process issue, and I will give a number instead of a letter this time: 91. It is the 91st time we have had the government invoke closure. We all remember when this government's members were in opposition they decried, opposed strongly and fervently, certainly Preston Manning did, the whole notion of closure and limits on debate.
Today the House leader got up to do his duty for his government and abuse the power it has and shut down debate. It is interesting, because we have present members, we just heard from one, who used to be Reformers. They talked about the importance of debate and the fact that the Chrétien government was always shutting down debate. Now it is water off their backs.
Today, the Conservatives brought in Bill S-7, a bill coming from the Senate into Parliament, which is strike number one against the whole notion of any form of reform of the parliamentary system we have here. Second, they brought in time allocation for the 91st time with this government. It is unprecedented, historic. Those numbers and those letters say everything about the government. The Conservatives have lost their way. I am not sure if they will be able to come back, but it says a lot about principles.
The title of the bill is interesting, because we are also debating a very important bill right now, Bill C-51. The term the Conservatives are using is “an act to combat terrorism”. The actual nomenclature for that bill is “an act to enact the security of Canada information sharing act”, which is actually about giving more powers to CSIS and about sharing information, but the Conservatives want to make it sound like it is having an impact on terrorism.
With the bill before us, it is actually the inversion of that. The Conservatives are making a political statement with the title that somehow they are taking on barbarism, as if that is presently an issue in daily life in Canada. It is actually about evocation, and the person who stated it best was the Minister of National Defence when he said that they used that title because they want to educate people. It is kind of interesting. I have never heard before from the government that it would use the titles of bills to educate. I know it uses them often to provoke, and certainly at times in the past to wedge, but the fact that it is using the word “barbaric” to educate is rather fascinating. I did not really understand the minister's lesson other than that the Conservatives wanted to let people know that there are barbaric things going on in our world and they will clean them up. When we actually look at the bill and look at the testimony, it does not measure up at all.
This kind of evocative title does a disservice to the Conservatives' own issue, which might be an important issue. It is an important issue to look at any abuse of anyone, and certainly the rights, the misuse and abuse of the sanctity of marriage. If there is a real issue, it should be dealt with, but when we go to extremes in our language or our rhetoric, it undermines the issue on which we should be focused.
Yes, there are cases in this country of polygamy. There are cases of female genital mutilation and cases of children whose rights are being abused. We were talking about child protection today at the foreign affairs committee and what things we could do to help protect children abroad.
When we get into the business of using language to evoke or, as in the mind of the Minister of National Defence, educate, as if he is going to educate the rest of Canada on this issue, which is interesting, it actually undermines what we are setting out to do. This is where I would like to get into the meat of the bill and what it purports to do.
We just heard the parliamentary secretary answer an excellent, simple question from my friend from Pontiac, which was could he give us examples, certainly the three recent cases, as to where this bill would actually make a difference. To give credit to the parliamentary secretary, he said the case was dealt with within the parameters of the law we have now. The question is, what is this really about?
I think everyone in the House has concerns about abuse of the immigration system, trying to force people into marriages or the practice of polygamy, and it should be dealt with, but I want to enumerate for people why New Democrats are opposed to this bill when looking at the criminal law now.
I know that you, Mr. Speaker, as a practising lawyer and having taught law, will appreciate this. Right now, criminal law already provides resources, irrelevant in most cases, involving forced marriage prior to and after the marriage, as well as in cases of travelling with minors, which we have seen, with the intent to force them to marry, including uttering threats. That is covered off in subsection 264.1(1) with regard to assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, and aggravated assault, sections 265 to 268.
Another aspect of this bill, which the government claims we need is around sexual assault causing bodily harm or sexual assault with a weapon and aggravated assault, forms of intimidation. That is covered under sections 271 to 273 of the Criminal Code. Kidnapping, as it is relevant and cogent to the issue, is covered off in section 279. Forcible confinement, which was referred to by the government as being required, is covered off in subsection 279(2). Abduction of a young person is covered in sections 280 to 283. Procuring feigned marriage, which is simply forcing someone into a marriage that is not the case, is covered off in section 292 of the Criminal Code.
Removal of a child from Canada with the intent to commit an act outside of Canada, which would be one of the listed offences if committed in Canada, is covered off in section 273.3. What about extortion? That is covered off in section 346. There are a couple more, but I will not go through them all because it would take me longer than the time I have. The one I want to highlight in the Criminal Code is spousal abuse, abuse of a child, and abuse of a position of trust or authority. The aggravating factors are covered off in section 718.2.
The question is: why is this in front of us and what is required? There is a case to be made that more needs to be done in terms of resources to help the people who might be victimized, and that is where we have to focus. That is not being provided. The government is cutting budgets in these areas.
I will leave the House with the following. It is interesting that the Conservatives are dealing with this case, but at the beginning of this month, I attended a protest outside the immigration office made up of people, who were legitimate actors, trying to get their marriages recognized. They are having to wait two years because of a lack of processing by the government. I would like the government to take a look at that.
What about the legitimate people who are waiting here, who are inland marriage sponsors, and having to forgo their families, having to pay for their own health care, et cetera? While the Conservatives are looking at this issue, I hope they are seized with those who are legitimate actors, who have legitimate marriages, who are legitimately recognized, and who the Conservatives are ignoring. Hopefully, they will turn their attention to that issue, because these people are forgoing the opportunity to provide Canadians with their talents and plans to have families, et cetera.
- MPndpMar 12, 2015 7:15 am | Ontario, Frontenac
With regard to diplomatic postings by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada: (a) what is the total number of vacancies in diplomatic postings; (b) which positions are vacant; (c) how long have each of the positions identified in (b) been vacant; (d) at which stage of the recruitment and posting process are the positions identified in (b); (e) what is the average length of time taken to fill a diplomatic posting in each of the last five calendar years; (f) what percentage of diplomatic postings in each of the last five years has been filled from within the Foreign Service; (g) what percentage of ambassadorial postings in each of the last five years has been filled from within the Foreign Service; and (h) what percentage of diplomatic postings requires ministerial approval?
- MPndpMar 10, 2015 4:40 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, I know my colleague has been on the foreign affairs committee and on the human rights committee, and one of the things we have to try to figure out when we hear testimony on troubling issues like this is where to put our resources. I would like to hear her advice in terms of providing direct help to women in the DRC.
We know that we need to help the victims. We know they need justice. Impunity is a huge issue, and I know the member has some interest in law, so I would be interested to hear some of the things we can do to help the victims seek justice and to help them become whole again, if possible.
As was stated before, this is a rampant issue, and we have to find ways to confront it. The trials in Bosnia were a great example, but how do we help women directly and invest to help them directly? What can we do as a country to help with that?
- MPndpMar 10, 2015 4:25 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, it is the Kimberley process that was referenced. It is to make sure that it is still functioning to follow the supply chain. There are some issues there. However, the member brings up a very important point.
I was just at an event a week ago on the issue of certifying and following the supply chain for gold as well as for conflict minerals. There is a role for Canadian mining companies. It has happened in the past that mining companies hire security firms to essentially keep people off the land and sometimes to push people off the land. Some very unsavoury methods have been used to do that, not directly by the mining companies but by subcontractors.
What Canada needs to do, following the transparency initiatives we have seen at the G8 and G7 and the OECD, is ensure that all companies understand that they have a role to play in compliance and in ensuring, from taking minerals or gold out of the ground all the way through to production, that if any human rights abuses happen in connection to that, they have to bear the responsibility. There has been some good work done on this. Obviously government has to play a role, and I think we need to strengthen oversight. We have had debates in this House on how we can do that.
When we talk about big mining sites, there are cases when subcontracting has happened and human rights abuses have happened. It is not typical and is certainly not in conflict minerals, which is all about illegal mining. However, we need to understand that the responsibility lies with those companies to ensure that nothing like that happens. That is something we can do a bit more of.
- MPndpMar 10, 2015 4:10 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague, the member for La Pointe-de-l'Île.
I rise today to speak to one of the most important issues to be focused on in the House. For me, and for many members, as we have heard, that is the horrific use of rape as a weapon of war. I can say this personally, having been to the DRC a couple of years ago and having talked to people on the ground there as well as to people here who are involved internationally on the issue.
We have had forums here. A couple of years ago we had a very important forum with the All-Party Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, of which I am now the chair. We organized an event a couple of years back with Eve Ensler, the famous playwright, that included testimony from victims who suffered from rape as a weapon of war.
I do not want to sensationalize, but I do want to lend some stories to the debate and some facts about what has been going on.
It has been noted many times in the debate around rape as a weapon of war that the epicentre is Congo. Congo is the rape capital of the world. That is what it was called for many years. It remains a problem. Since 1998, over 5.4 million people have been killed in this ongoing conflict in which rape is used as a weapon of war.
People have used the term “femicide”, because in this war it is not soldiers who are on the front line. One former colonel in command of a UN peacekeeping mission in Congo said that in this conflict, it is women who are on the front lines. It is not soldiers. What he was referring to is the horrific use of rape as a weapon of war.
In the past, yes, rape was evident in conflict. Sadly, rape has been a by-product of war in the past. However, what we are seeing in the case of the Congo and in an increasing number of conflicts is its use as an actual strategy of war. Soldiers and rebel groups use rape to mark territory and to intimidate people.
There are people who are dealing with this on the ground, but it is really hard to conceptualize that 5.4 million people have died in a war that seems to pass us by. How does that happen? How is it that women who are on the front lines are repeatedly gang-raped by soldiers and militias and no one seemingly does anything?
There are people on the front lines, and I will talk about them in a minute. We had a UN peacekeeping mission as well, but most people either had no idea of this conflict in the DRC or chose not to look. Perhaps it was too disturbing. My theory is that most people just did not know.
I mentioned that the financing for these conflicts and these militias is coming directly from the supply chain that puts minerals into our technologies. Coltan is used in our BlackBerrys, our iPads, and our computers. It is actually a good thing to have in technology. It allows our devices to work by making sure they do not get too hot. It is really important. However, 80% of that mineral comes from the region. Most of it has been controlled and is still controlled by the militias that are using rape as a weapon of war.
It is frustrating, because when we come to understand the connection between supply chain mineral revenues and the conflict, we begin to think we should be doing something about that.
I know that the Dodd Frank initiative was brought forward in the United States, so the U.S. actually has a law now that forces companies to say where their supply chain is coming from. I want to give credit to some of those who have taken this on. We have seen good outcomes under this law in the United States. The supply chain for Intel, the company that makes the little chip, is now 100% conflict-free. The U.S. is doing what we did with blood diamonds.
We have to break the chain of revenue that goes to these militias, because that is what they are after. They are using child soldiers and they are using rape as a weapon of war. It is something that we have to stop, and we know how to stop it because we did it with blood diamonds back in the 1990s.
Who are the people on the front lines who are taking this on? I want to cite someone who has been extraordinary in taking on and dealing with the victims, and that is Dr. Mukwege who works in the Congo. His Panzi Hospital, which has been noted around the world, is in Bukavu, in the eastern part of the Congo.
As a gynecologist, he set up a clinic to help women. He was there to help women and women's health. What he ended up having to do, though, is deal with the outcomes of rape as a weapon of war. This is very disturbing. Instead of just doing basic health care for women and children, he ended up having to do surgery on women, rebuilding women's bodies because they had been so deformed from rape. Fistula, a medical term, occurs when a woman's body has been so abused that her body comes apart. It ruptures. That is what he was dealing with, not doing women's health. It is horrific.
Over the years, he has operated on over 50,000 women and girls due to rape, in just his clinic. These are girls, kids, and women who are older. This is what we are talking about.
When we debate this in the House, I think it is important to understand that this has been going on for a while. It continues to go on. Dr. Mukwege has said:
This will be the destruction of the Congolese people. If you destroy enough wombs, there will be no children. Then you come right in and take the minerals.
He is saying that because this is exactly what has happened. It is intimidation. It is a way, as we heard from one of my colleagues, to shame people, to take away their dignity. After this violence has occurred, they are left without support, sadly. It disrupts the whole society. That is what this is intended to do.
It is also heinous on the other side of the equation. This is socialized; these soldiers are socialized to do this. They start them off very young, as boys, to initiate them with rape. There is the whole social circle here. These young boys become soldiers. They are initiated in rape and then go in and continue the cycle. There are women who are raped multiple times, whose whole bodies become deformed and broken. It takes a very hard hit on a whole society. We have to consider that when we look at how we should respond.
This report is good. It is important. I challenge the government to implement it. I challenge the government to go back to the 1325 action plan on women, peace and security. However, I want us all to remember that there are things we can do as citizens. We should ask all of our providers and the people we buy technologies from what they are doing to make sure that all of our products are conflict free, so that we end the incentives for this horrific crime against humanity that has led to femicide in places like the DRC, and that we support the victims and those who, like the good doctor, are doing work on the ground.
Then we could say that when we found out there was a war against women going on, we did not just sit by, we acted and we acted with our values, obviously, as the cornerstone of our democracy, and that we actually reached out to those who did not have a voice and whose voices were too often extinguished.
This report is important because it gives us a chance to talk about an issue that is not talked about enough. It is something we should talk about more and, more importantly, something we should act on.
- MPndpMar 10, 2015 3:50 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, I want to touch on a subject that we have debated before in the House. It relates to rape as a weapon of war in the DRC. It was not that long ago that I had a bill in front of Parliament on conflict minerals and how to stop the trade of those minerals. As members probably know, the BlackBerrys they are looking at have conflict minerals in them. We were trying to end that.
One of the propositions to government was to ensure we did what we could, like the Kimberley Process, to stop revenues going to these militias. Sadly, my PMB did not go forward. That is not news. It lost by 16 votes. However, during the debate, I listened carefully to the government's point of view on the bill as it related to this and to the Kimberley Process. It said that it would take on the issue of conflict minerals and deal with the sources of revenues that the militias used.
Could the member update the House as to what steps the government is taking vis-à-vis the revenues that the militias are using from conflict minerals? These militias are using rape as a weapon of war to clear people off and intimidate, and are continuing to use this as sources of revenue. Could she update us on the progress with respect to conflict minerals?
- MPndpFeb 27, 2015 10:00 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her question. Our party's view on the approach to take is completely different than that of the government. We recommend an approach that focuses on prevention and on investing in community health centres, such as the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre in downtown Ottawa and the Carlington Community Health Centre.
It is a good idea to invest in local community health centres so that they can do prevention work and provide this type of care. That is what makes us different from the government. The government would rather act after the fact by investing in a large hospital. That is a bad idea.
- MPndpFeb 27, 2015 9:45 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-2. As we have said on this side of the House, this bill is ill-considered and a reaction, frankly, to the government's inability to address a serious problem. As we know, the Supreme Court has had to intervene to guide the government to do more than it has been doing.
However, it is more than that. If we look at the legislation, it tries to address a major void in the approach of the government in dealing with what is a health issue. I would like to underline that point at the start. This is about health, the health of our neighbours and the people we represent as members of Parliament. Too often, this issue has been dressed up as a drug issue, invoking the kind of images we see on TV. Somehow it has been torqued to the point where we forget that we are talking about human beings who are facing addictions.
Recently I met with people who were with the recovery movement in Ottawa. I sponsored a motion, which I would love to have the rest of my colleagues support, with respect to designating a recognized recovery month in September. One of the important topics they spoke of was the people who had taken on an addiction, gone down that brave road and, with the support of many people, been able to deal with it, whether it had been alcohol or drugs. Their point was that we need to take this out of the shadows when we are talking about addictions and celebrate when people have been successful with recovery. We need to talk about it and celebrate it, not hide it or be ashamed of it. That is something we have seen with mental health. We have come a long way when it comes to mental health. However, we need to do the same with addictions.
When people are addicted to drugs, we need to see that as a health issue. It could be my kids who could become addicted, or the kids of other members, our neighbours, or friends. We have seen that pattern.
Before my mother entered politics, her first job was as a public health nurse. One of the things she had to deal with in the 1970s was the kids who were getting addicted to hard drugs and had nowhere to go. She was their first point of contact in dealing with that issue. The problem then was acknowledging that it was a problem. People were hiding behind closed doors and suffering in silence. We have made some progress in that area by now. However, when I look at this bill and listen to the government side, I think we need to take back that approach that we thought we had learned and instead say this is a health issue and that we can solve it if we work together.
It just so happens that this is timely for me. I was very lucky this past week to meet with all the executive directors of all of the community health centres in Ottawa. They were not just community health centre executive directors from Ottawa Centre—I am lucky to have four community health centres in my riding—but also from other areas in Ottawa.
I met with the executive director of the community health centre in the south end of Ottawa, which is not in my area; and from the Queensway Carleton area, which is west of me; as well as Simone Thibault, executive director of the Centretown Community Health Centre, who coordinated it. I want to give her a special mention because she hosted the meeting. Jack McCarthy from the Somerset West Community Health Centre was also there, as was the executive director from Sandy Hill.
It was David Gibson who underlined the point that we have to get smarter when it comes to dealing with addictions, and hard drugs in particular. He laid out a convincing argument on why we need to take a different approach than what is laid out in Bill C-2. Essentially, he said that we have to acknowledge that we have harmful, powerful drugs being used by members of our community. Therefore, the first thing we need to do when dealing with any addiction is to recognize it. The second is that we have to understand what the drugs are, who is taking them, and where they are taking them. Therefore, we must do an analysis. The third is to come up with solutions. It is a fairly straightforward approach that he talked about.
However, he also added to the briefing that he sent me, which I thank him for, the legal piece here, because we know that the Supreme Court has been involved.
I will read some of that report into the record for the benefit of our debate. One of the things he says is the following:
I consider Bill C2 as an important reminder of the lessons of the 2011 Supreme Court's ruling: that governments, and all health and public health organizations, have a duty to act in ways that enhance the health of individuals and their communities.
I do not think anyone in this House would disagree with that statement.
He does go on to say how we can improve that response to achieve the goal he laid out. One of the things he has laid out was from that Supreme Court ruling:
The effect of denying the services of [safe injection sites] to the population it serves and the...increase in the risk of death and disease to injection drug users is grossly disproportionate to any benefit that Canada might derive from presenting a uniform stance on the possession of narcotics.
That was from Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin in her decision in 2011. It goes on to say:
These sites are evidence that health authorities are increasingly recognizing that health care for injection drug users cannot amount to a stark choice between abstinence and forgoing health services.
This is the key for me. We cannot take people who are hiding in the shadows with their addictions and using injection drugs and say that we do not have any role. They are people in our communities. They are people who need help.
We cannot just say get off the drugs. The ads are fine. I have seen them, and they can have some effect, but if an individual is addicted to hard drugs and is using injection drugs, that campaign will not help. It will not do the job.
The Supreme Court was saying that we cannot lay it out and say that abstinence or denial of health services is all that is left for an individual who is a drug user. We have to look at who this person is and how we can help, as I mentioned earlier.
The image I will now tell the House about is from the report I received from one of our community health centre executive directors. It is an actual story. I think it is important, because it lays out what some of the challenges are.
This story is about a person we will call Michael, to protect his privacy. In August 2012, at the age of 19, the same age as my eldest son, Michael visited the downtown City of Ottawa community health centre to exchange his used needles for clean needles. Having declined further support that day, Michael left the community health centre. There is an accompanying photo, which I cannot show the House.
What happened next was that just steps away from the community health centre, Michael was found in an overdosed state. He was found by one of the people in the community health centre, fortunately, because if he had not been found, he would have died of an overdose.
He woke up in the hospital emergency department and was told that he was clinically dead when the paramedics arrived. I will just underline the point that he was 25 metres from the community health centre, and they were able to be there to help him. However, what happened to his friend was not so lucky. A week later, one of his closest friends died of an overdose.
What I am trying to say is that this is preventable. When we have people, and they are in all of our communities, make no mistake, who are dying because of overdoses and the use and misuse of injection drugs, there is a model that is not one-size-fits-all. It is an opportunity for us to deal with it.
In closing, this is not about naming and shaming. This is about taking people out of the shadows and putting them in front of our health care services and providing the supports they need.
It is 2015. The evidence is out. The studies have been done. We know that supervised sites can work. It is not one-size-fits-all. Yes, I agree with the government that it has to have community support, but if we fail to provide that support, we are turning our backs on people.
This is about people's lives. This is about the fact that people are dying in our streets because we are not doing enough, and it would be an abject failure, not only of our duties as members of Parliament but our collective duties as a caring community.
- MPndpFeb 27, 2015 9:40 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, I want to acknowledge my friend's comments at the end. We can agree on his statement that that proliferation and use of some very harmful drugs are affecting lives in our communities.
Where we part company is on how we deal with that problem. He has probably looked at all of the evidence-based research on why we need to have safe injection sites and places where people can get health care at the same time.
No one is looking at trying to proliferate. We are trying to reduce the use of harmful drugs.
Has my friend read all of the evidence from other countries? The issue has been looked at in Germany, Switzerland, and right here in Canada, and the evidence says that this is a health issue and that we need to provide safe support for those people who have these problems so that we can have first contact with them and not abandon them. I think that is where the government's problem is.
I just want to know if he has read all of the evidence-based reports that say that the direction of the government is the wrong direction.
- MPndpFeb 27, 2015 8:55 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, the Ottawa Police Service is asking the government for funds to recover costs from the Parliament Hill shooting and for a renewal of the $2 million they received in 2009, in recognition of their crucial role in keeping the federal government safe.
Ottawa's Police Service faces a unique challenge. Protecting the national capital is a huge cost to our city. This should not compromise the safety of the wider Ottawa community. Will the federal government give the city of Ottawa the support it needs to keep our community safe?
- MPndpFeb 27, 2015 8:50 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' plans for a monument to victims of communism has drawn criticism from Canada's Chief Justice, the mayor of Ottawa, Canada's leading architecture and design experts, local MPs, and local elected representatives. All parties support a memorial to remember those silenced by tyranny and to honour those who fought for change. However, Ottawa residents and their representatives were not consulted on the location, the size, and the design of the memorial.
When building a monument to victims of communism, why is the current government ignoring democratic consultation?
- MPndpFeb 24, 2015 4:25 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Chair, one of the best ways to deal with it is through education, but the law has a place. I mentioned the Heritage Front. I worked with members in the community to counter the Heritage Front. These people were neo-Nazis who pronounced hate. They were using the Boys and Girls Club to organize. Some of us said that this was wrong, that we needed to come in with bylaws at the local level to ensure people were not allowed to do that.
There are different ways of dealing with it, but there is no one solution though. I would underscore the point that this is complex. As we have noted, it has been around for generations. What we have to do is not to turn our back. The best way we can deal with any form of xenophobia, of racism, of anti-Semitism, is to understand that if we are to defeat it, people have to work together and we have to remain united. We must not allow people to be divided, and I say that for other forms of hatred as well. When we start to select what is tolerable and what is not, and we are not united in all forms of hatred, then obviously we become lesser humans.
At the end of the day, we can use law. We can use education, but fundamentally we have to reach out to each other as human beings.
- MPndpFeb 24, 2015 4:20 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Chair, let me read to the House the following:
Antisemitism is a manifestation of racism, xenophobia and religious intolerance. In recent years, we have witnessed increased incidents of hatred, intolerance, discrimination and violence against individuals based on their religion or belief....
Based on our conviction of the need to counter all forms of religious intolerance, we therefore call all member states to:
...endeavor to eliminate Antisemitism in all its forms.
That is the UN statement the member was referring to. I agree with that. That is why we have to name it, as I said before, define it, and combat it. It is the same thing we have to do with misogyny.
Xenophobia is something that is general nomenclature, but we have to name it and understand it to combat it. Anti-Semitism is unique. It is pernicious, as the member said, and that is why it has to be understood, named, challenged, and fought against.
- MPndpFeb 24, 2015 4:05 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Chair, I rise tonight to speak to the issue of anti-Semitism, particularly on how we view it here in Canada and what we are doing to combat it how we are doing our part in this global community.
We all have personal stories about dealing with any form of racism and xenophobia. Certainly, growing up, anti-Semitism was very evident to me. My best friend, Ross Polowin, was Jewish. I could see how he was treated differently from other friends of mine. I was fortunate enough to be brought up in a community where we were not just brought up by our parents. We were brought up by our neighbours. Certainly the Polowins were there for me in many ways. They gave me a sense of security. They were there to be part of that tight-knit community.
What I learned from them was a lot, including the personal effect of anti-Semitism. The parents knew the story of Ross's grandparents and how they had escaped, in one case, the tyranny of Nazi Germany but also Stalinism and virulent anti-Semitism. Growing up I was certainly aware of that.
In later years, I was part of the group that confronted the horrible association called the Heritage Front, here in Ottawa. It is a very well-documented story. I joined with other activists to protest against their using the Boys and Girls Club to have their meetings. I worked in solidarity with the anti-racism community here in Ottawa to state unequivocally at that time that anti-Semitism had no place in our community. The Heritage Front was a very strong force for a period of time, but there was unity of purpose in people declaring that racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism had no place in our community.
We need to name it, be it anti-Semitism, be it homophobia, be it Islamophobia, or be it what we have seen recently as a real rise in misogyny, with the notion of rape culture. These are things that undermine our values as Canadians. We need to name it. We need to understand it. We need to deal with it. What we cannot do is turn our backs.
When we are talking about anti-Semitism or talking about xenophobia, we have to talk about our values as Canadians. When people are being isolated because of the way they look or their association of religion or their gender identity or the fact that they have come from somewhere else, we need to be present.
We know what happens when the bystander does nothing. It means that these norms we hold onto, our values of respect, tolerance, and value, actually become undervalued and vulnerable.
It is difficult. Those of us who are parents and those of us who just recall growing up know how difficult it can be to be the one to stand up and say, “No, this is wrong.” However, we have to exhibit that behaviour, obviously in Parliament and obviously in our role as community leaders. When we see people who are under attack, we need to stand with them.
The minister identified that through history, the Jewish people have had to carry the weight and gravity of being targeted. There is no simple explanation as to why. What we do know is the effect. We know that when people suffer from this kind of attack, just because of a faith, in this case Jewish, they will be undermined, attacked, and identified as other. When people are identified as other, that is the slippery slope to becoming other than human.
Recent events have already been mentioned, such as the one today in Montreal. I wanted to share that with colleagues, because I know that everyone did not have a chance to see the news.
We have to stand up and say that this is wrong. When we see attacks in communities, just think of what it is like for those communities to go through that yet again, with swastikas painted on cars and threats made. This is more than just a pronouncement. This is an attack, and it brings back and evokes very difficult feelings for people, and they feel threatened.
I happened to be in Brussels for NATO meetings when the Copenhagen attacks happened. I watched, as many did. I was very concerned about what was happening. It reminded me a bit of what happened here in October. They were not sure how many people were killed, who was responsible, et cetera. We knew some of the facts. There was an attack on a Jewish community. We knew that someone had done the heroic thing, as we saw in this place, to save lives. We also saw something extraordinary, which I wish we could get back to in this place, and it was the unity of purpose among those who stood together to say that they would not be divided in their values and that they would join each other to combat what they had gone through. We saw that here in October 23, 24, et cetera.
What stuck with me were the comments of the rabbi who was not only a leader for his community in Copenhagen. He actually went to the family who had lost a family member and had to deliver the news. That is a very different position to be in. Not only was he bearing witness and helping the community through a tough time but he was having to share with the family that they had lost forever one of their family members.
Here is an excerpt of what Chief Rabbi Mirvis said in Copenhagen. He said:
We stand together at this challenging time.... We must never give in to terror and we must not shy away from tackling it and its root causes.
We pray that the values of respect, tolerance and peace will prevail.
He could have said something else. He could have not said anything. He could have lashed out at those who were responsible. However, he decided not to do that and gave an expression of unity.
There were others who spoke out. Another Danish rabbi said the following:
...our lives have to continue naturally. Terror’s goal is to change our lives and we won’t let it....This is the real answer to the vicious, cruel and cowardly act of terror.
Another voice from the Jewish community at the time said:
I don’t even want to go into this way of thinking [in the response to this horrible act]. I think that the answer to terror is to fight it wherever it is.
Of course, the Danish Prime Minister was extraordinary. She said:
The Jewish community have been in this country for centuries. They belong in Denmark. They are part of the Danish community and we wouldn't be the same without the Jewish community in Denmark.
Simple words maybe, but an important message at a time when people were feeling vulnerable, at a time when the Jewish community was under attack.
When we look at the idea of anti-Semitism, it is to divide, it is to isolate, it is to pull apart people based on who they are, and it is to allow hate to climb into our communities. The best way to deal with that, of course, is by engagement, by discussion, and by protection, of course, as was mentioned by the minister, where people are vulnerable.
At the end of the day, whether it be anti-Semitism, xenophobia, misogyny, or Islamophobia, it is trying to divide people based on the other, and we must all stand up. We must do everything we can, because we know what history's lesson is. If we do not stand up and we allow hate to take over, then our humanity is challenged to the point of being inhuman.
Let us join together tonight to discuss how we can make our country and our communities better by standing up to hate and intolerance.
- MPndpFeb 24, 2015 3:55 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Chair, I thank the minister for his intervention and his passion on the discussion around anti-Semitism.
I know we have discussed in this place some concrete examples, which I will talk about in my comments, but I think we should also acknowledge the events in Montreal today, which shocked us all. Sadly, we see these events happening. What happened in Montreal—Nazi graffiti being painted on cars in the west end of Montreal—is something we can all condemn in unity and solidarity.
There is one issue I would like to touch on with the minister, which I brought up when he was Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, and that is what we have seen recently in Europe, focusing on Hungary. I have an issue with how we talk about anti-Semitism. In his comments, the minister talked about the old and the new. I come from the position of calling it what it is. When we see it, it is what it is. When we see what is happening with some political parties, one in particular in Hungary, we have seen anti-Semitism being pronounced within a political program.
I questioned the minister at the time he was Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, asking if we should look at our immigration policy if people are feeling threatened, as we have seen in Hungary. I will read a quote and then ask him a question.
The Foreign Affairs committee actually heard directly from a woman in May 2013, Regina Waldman, who is the president of Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa. She was speaking about her experiences as a Jewish person in Hungary and stated:
Personally, I was humiliated to be so surrounded by police.
She was talking about trying get around in Hungary.
The whole city has been blocked by police cars. It took me quite a long time to get here today—
She was testifying:
—simply because I couldn't get in or out of any area that had anything Jewish, whether it's a Jewish neighbourhood or a synagogue.
She could not even get to a meeting to testify without being threatened.
My question is very simple. Should we not take that into account when we are talking about immigration and the government's policy of safe countries? Sometimes the government declares a country to be safe, but testimony like that would suggest that it is not always. Would he not agree that we should be looking at allowing people, like our friend and others, to immigrate to Canada who feel threatened by anti-Semitism?
- MPndpFeb 19, 2015 11:50 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, today many Canadians were asking themselves this question: Who is the actual Minister of Foreign Affairs? It was not the actual Minister of Foreign Affairs, after all, who greeted the Queen at Canada House. It was the former member for Ottawa West—Nepean.
Would the actual Minister of Foreign Affairs please stand up and explain why John Baird would play minister in London?
- MPndpFeb 19, 2015 11:45 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, here is what is offensive. In the last three years, Foreign Affairs has cut $148 million for security upgrades at embassies. These security upgrades are not a luxury. The department itself called them urgent.
Let us never forget, we lost a diplomat, Glyn Berry, in Afghanistan, and we saw the devastation in Benghazi when U.S. diplomats were attacked by extremists.
The question is, why is the government putting the lives of our brave men and women on the line? These are the facts from the minister's own department; it was $148 million that was cut. He cannot deny those facts.
- MPndpFeb 18, 2015 12:00 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, the minister just told us Yakunin is not on the list, but it gets worse. Including Yakunin, we have Putin's former deputy aide and former deputy prime minister, Igor Sechin. He is not on the list. He just had a meeting with Putin last week, and this person is not on the list.
Why are the Conservatives protecting Putin's friends? It is a very simple question: why are Sechin and Yakunin not on the list?
- MPndpFeb 06, 2015 8:25 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, the world is currently coordinating its response to ISIS-inspired terrorism and extremism. Canada should be at the table and not on the sidelines. A major security conference in Munich is happening this week to discuss terrorism. Twenty world leaders are attending, along with some 60 foreign and defence ministers.
I have a very simple question for the government. Will Canada be represented at this important international summit, yes or no?
- MPndpFeb 06, 2015 7:20 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, I think what is being lost by the whip is something he actually said in his own speech, which is that we are the ones to be in charge of preserving the freedoms we have. The problem is that this process is devoid of the very words he speaks. We should be looking at this with sober eyes and not just ramming through a motion. We should be looking at what happened on October 22 and how to integrate it and have all the evidence brought forward. Unfortunately, and I say this with deep sincerity, the government is doing the top-down thing: no free vote, and putting forward a motion and then ridiculing any kind of critique.
I want to ask the whip how he can say, on the one hand, that he wants to preserve the freedoms of this place, and on the other hand say that there is no free vote. I do not understand that. I would ask him to explain how, on the one hand, he wants us as members of Parliament to preserve the security of this place, on which we agree, but then on the other hand say that there will be no free vote, that the government will whip everyone into shape and tell them what to think. How does he square that?
- MPndpFeb 03, 2015 11:30 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. First, I would like to thank him for taking on this role, and I look forward to working with him.
While the conflict between Ukraine and Russia escalates, key members of Russia's business and political elite are still not on Canada's sanctions list, despite the fact that our allies do list them.
I have a simple question for the minister. Why are Igor Sechin, Sergey Chemezov, and Vladimir Yakunin not on Canada's sanctions list, when they are on the sanctions list of both the United States and the U.K.? Why are they not on our list?
- MPndpFeb 03, 2015 7:20 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, like many last night, I was shocked and surprised by the announcement by our friend across the way of his decision to step down as foreign affairs minister and to not seek re-election. Like many people, I spent the night thinking about the minister's contributions to this place, to our country, and to our city.
As many will know, we were both elected in 2006, but members should know that our connection was very close prior to his being elected to this place and Queen's Park. It was as early as grade nine. He was chosen by his school to represent the school and to meet the then mayor of Ottawa, and that happened to have been my mother. Some people have accused her of his being motivated toward politics because of that visit, but I know more. I know that at an early age, he was inspired by a teacher, someone who was involved in politics in the Progressive Conservative Party, who led him to become a young activist within the Progressive Conservative Party, along with a fellow minister down the way.
What always drove the minister, as far as I could tell, as for many of us in this place, was making a genuine difference in his community, in this place, and obviously, recently, on the world stage.
It was after having had a wonderful time with my family this past Labour Day weekend that I received a call. I was asked to accompany the minister on a trip to Iraq. I certainly was not planning on this trip. It was not part of my itinerary.
I have to share with the House and Canadians that the way the minister conducted himself on that trip, also with my colleague from the Liberal Party, showed his professionalism. It showed that he cared about this country and that he was a responsible minister and parliamentarian. On every visit with dignitaries, he included us. He asked for our advice and actually followed up on some of the issues we were advocating for.
Make no mistake. I have a long list of disagreements with the minister, but that is what politics is about. It is about putting forward ideas and presenting them in the best way possible, but I want to underline a couple of issues in the foreign affairs file the minister has taken on and led. When he was first named as the foreign affairs minister, I reached out to him and talked to him about the issue of women, peace, and security and the whole issue of sexual violence. He has led on that internationally. He recently had the government earmark $10 million to carry on that fight against sexual violence in Iraq. He should be applauded for that. He took leadership on that, and for that I thank him.
He also, time and time again, stood on the world stage and spoke out against discrimination against people, wherever in the world, because of their sexual orientation. As minister, he led like no other minister on the world stage when it came to the persecution of gays, lesbians, and transsexuals. Again, I want to thank him for what he has done in putting Canada in a good light with regard to fighting discrimination against those who are GBLTQ in this world.
I also want to talk about the dichotomy that is the minister. As passionate as he can get, as partisan as he can get, and he can, he is also someone who reaches out. He is someone who understands the importance of getting things done. He has done that here in Ottawa with his leadership on NCC reform, his reform of accountability in this place, and his focus on making sure our capital is going to be a place that shines. His voice in cabinet was absolutely extraordinary when it came to this city.
I want to finish by talking about why we get involved in politics and what I think the minister is about. He acknowledged in his comments that he has grown into his role.
I would argue that anyone who comes here and is static does not belong in politics. This is a place for growth. This is a place to learn. This is a place to engage.
The minister has done that. He found his best footing as the Minister of Foreign affairs, in my opinion. For that, he should be acknowledged. I think we all get into politics for good reasons and, ultimately, it is to make a difference.
The minister's service record is strong and distinguished. He has always served his constituents and his country with pride and passion.
The member has served this place with passion. He served his electors well. If I might say,“Rusty” may be gone but will not be forgotten.
- MPndpFeb 02, 2015 11:10 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, Leon Katz was a pioneer. Trained as an engineer, Leon invented technologies that revolutionized the practice of medicine in Canada, including Canada's first heart-lung pump for open heart surgery and Canada's first fetal heart monitor. Later in his career, Leon worked for Health Canada. His team's discovery of hazards in blood collection led to international recalls of tainted equipment and saved countless lives.
He was recognized for his contributions to medicine, science, and technology with the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario.
Leon Katz was a devoted father, grandfather, and husband, a proud member of the Jewish community, and an engaged citizen here in Ottawa. He passed away last month, shortly after his 90th birthday.
Leon Katz remains an inspiration for all of us, including his daughter, Floralove Katz, herself a recipient of the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award. She is in Parliament today.
I know that all members will join me in thanking him for his service to our country.
- MPndpJan 30, 2015 8:35 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence offered few answers yesterday at committee, and that was clear to everyone. The one thing he did let slip was that the Conservatives would be seeking a new mandate to extend Canada's involvement in the war. Since approving the last mission, the mandate has gone from observers and air strikes to ground combat.
Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs confirm that he will be asking the House for a mandate to extend this mission? If yes, will it include ground combat?
- MPndpJan 26, 2015 12:15 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
With regard to the Family Class sponsorships and Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) Regulation 117(9)(d): (a) how many Family Class sponsorships have been denied by visa officers based on this Regulation since its inception in 2003; (b) of the refused applications, (i) how many of the excluded family members were spouses, (ii) how many of the excluded family members were children, (iii) what is the gender breakdown of the sponsors; (c) how many sponsors have requested an exemption from this Regulation to allow their excluded family member to come to Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds under Section 25 of the IRPA; (d) how many requests for exemptions were granted; (e) of the exemptions that were granted, (i) how many of the excluded family members were spouses, (ii) how many of the excluded family members were children, (iii) what is the gender breakdown of the sponsors; (f) how many requests for exemptions were refused; and (g) of the exemptions that were refused, (i) how many of the excluded family members were spouses, (ii) how many of the excluded family members were children, (iii) what is the gender breakdown of the sponsors?
- MPndpDec 12, 2014 8:40 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, Canada has been involved in a war in Iraq since September. Four months later, we still do not know some basic facts. We do not know whether the mission will be extended. We have not been told how much this war is costing, or even beyond counting bombs and targets, what impact the air strikes are actually having on the ground.
Why, after four months of war, are Canadians still left in the dark by the government?
- MPndpDec 12, 2014 8:00 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate the remarkable life of René Chartrand.
For 21 years, from 1987 to 2008, René was a constant presence on Parliament Hill, caring for the colony of cats that lived behind the Centre Block. Every day, rain or shine, through lockdowns and holidays, René came to feed and care for the cats. As he said, “I'm not allowed to get sick -- the cats would get angry if I missed a day”.
He greeted visitors from around the world, in both official languages, with a smile and an open heart, and became legendary as the “Cat Man of Parliament Hill”. In 2003, he received the Heroes for Animals Award from the Humane Society of Canada.
René Chartrand died this week at the age of 92. René's commitment and empathy are an inspiration.
I know all members will join me in celebrating his contribution to life on Parliament Hill.
- MPndpDec 05, 2014 8:45 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, Canada committed to taking in 1,300 Syrian refugees by the end of 2014, but only 457 Syrian refugees have landed in Canada. The minister failed to deliver on his commitment and repeatedly misled Canadians and the House. These are not just numbers. They are actual human beings in the worst war zone in the world, left behind by this minister. How can he justify such a pathetic track record on behalf of those who are so vulnerable?
- MPndpDec 04, 2014 11:55 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, if the Conservatives are not going to build the 125 spaces they promised, they could at least stop shutting them down.
Last week, Ottawa lost Tupper Tots, a non-profit daycare, because the government killed the federal workplace daycare policy.
Right now, dozens of parents in Ottawa are desperately scrambling to find care for their children. There are nine other similar sites and centres across Canada, four of them in Ottawa.
The question is: Will the government work with those of us who want to preserve these child care spaces and make sure there is child care for these families and others?
- MPndpDec 03, 2014 2:05 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, I will truncate my comments, but the message is fairly clear. We have a democracy that has been around since 1867. It predates access to electricity. We on this side think it is about time to look at reforming a system that allows the Conservative Party and the previous Liberal government to have all the power with only 38% of voters, out of which half of the population voted.
I have travelled as the foreign affairs spokesperson for my party, and the Government of Canada advises other governments about democratic reform. If we were to ask people if it is an acceptable system for a minority of citizens to decide where the power goes and to say that the status quo is fine, they would look at us and ask what was wrong with us. That is what New Democrats are talking about. We are talking about the fact that it is time for us to actually deal with democratic reform.
I have to say that this comes just after the government and the Prime Minister wrote about the importance of democratic reform. Mr. Speaker, you know this as I am sure you have read all of the Prime Minister's writings, particularly those before he became Prime Minister. He co-authored a paper on proportional representation. It was our Prime Minister who advocated this system. New Democrats are simply saying that we agree with him, and let us get on with it.
The old prime minister understood our system. He lived through it. He saw the phony majority governments of Jean Chrétien and prior to that, when a party that received less than 40% of the vote got all of the power. It goes deeper than that. It is something we are seeing in the United States, which is very troubling. It is when people see there is no opportunity for their votes to count. We have to change that, because people are becoming cynical.
A discussion I often have is about young people not voting. People say they do not know what is wrong with young people. It is not what is wrong with young people; it is what is wrong with our democratic system. Young people are smart, and they are saying that until the system is fixed, they are not going to participate. They are looking at the choices and saying that if they vote, their votes will be wasted.
There are a couple of ridings that always vote Conservative. If there are Green Party or NDP supporters, they know their votes are wasted and they do not vote. They simply decide not to use their franchise. Similarly, in a riding that is typically NDP, Conservatives' votes are wasted, and that is wrong. It is fundamental to our democracy.
I remember a quote from Governor Smith of New York, who famously said that the solution for all that ails democracy is more democracy. That is exactly what we need in our system. That is what our proposal is about. We have seen it work very well. This is what we are proposing to take to Canadians, unlike our Liberal friend, who made some weird statement about New Democrats not consulting and who also thinks we have a $400 billion infrastructure deficit. He made that up. For some reason, Liberals think that talking about it in the House of Commons, bringing forward a motion, running on it in an election, and then actually consulting people is somehow not consulting. It is the Liberal way, I guess.
We are serious about reforming our system so that every vote will count. If every vote counts, then we will have what New Zealand has. New Zealand has a history similar to ours, a Westminster tradition. What did New Zealanders do? They took what New Democrats are proposing here and put it into action. Not only that, they then had a referendum after a couple of years. It took place just a couple of years ago, and it asked the people of New Zealand if they thought it was working and if they liked it. Everyone said yes. That is what we are talking about.
The way it would work is people would vote for the people they want to represent them in their ridings and the party of their choice. It gives people more choice. It is very simple. It would allow Canadians to see their votes count and for the votes to be recognized in Parliament.
At the end of the day, what is happening in New Zealand, which I know might sadden some Conservatives, is that toxic politics are gone. People actually work together to make sure that the business of the people comes first, rather than having all these toxic talking points and wedge politics, which might be a reason for the party not to support the previous position of their Prime Minister.
I would ask members to look to Canadians, particularly young Canadians, and say, “Let us reform our system. Let us make every vote count. Let us make sure that we take a system conceived in 1867, before we had electricity, and modernize it so that we can have a Parliament that functions for everyone.”
This is why I want all members, in good conscience, to ask themselves if they want to improve things in their country. If they do, then let us change the system. Let us have democratic reform in our electoral system and vote yes to this motion.
- MPndpDec 03, 2014 12:25 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
With regard to the government’s commitment on July 3, 2013, to accept 1,300 Syrian refugees: (a) how many Syrians have been granted refugee status in Canada since July 3, 2013; (b) how many Syrian refugees have been admitted to Canada from overseas since July 3, 2013, broken down by (i) total amount, (ii) month; (c) how many of the Syrian refugees admitted to Canada from overseas since July 3, 2013 have been government-sponsored, broken down by (i) total amount, (ii) month; (d) how many of the Syrian refugees admitted to Canada from overseas since July 3, 2013 have been privately-sponsored, broken down by (i) total amount, (ii) month; (e) of the government-sponsored Syrian refugees admitted to Canada from overseas since July 3, 2013, how many were admitted from (i) Syria, (ii) Iraq, (iii) Jordan, (iv) Lebanon, (v) Turkey, (vi) elsewhere; (f) of the privately-sponsored Syrian refugees admitted to Canada from overseas since July 3, 2013, how many were admitted from (i) Syria, (ii) Iraq, (iii) Jordan, (iv) Lebanon, (v) Turkey, (vi) elsewhere; (g) of the privately-sponsored Syrian refugees admitted to Canada from overseas since July 3, 2013, how many were sponsored by (i) sponsorship agreement holders, (ii) groups of five, (iii) community sponsors; (h) how many applications to privately sponsor Syrian refugees have been received by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, broken down by (i) total amount, (ii) sponsorship agreement holders, (iii) groups of five, (iv) community sponsors; (i) how many applications were received on behalf of Syrians seeking refugee status in Canada, from (i) January 1, 2011 to July 3, 2013, (ii) July 3, 2013 to present; (j) of the Syrians granted refugee status in Canada since July 3, 2013, how many applied from within Canada; (k) of the applications received on behalf of Syrians seeking refugee status in Canada, how many remain in progress, dating from (i) January 1, 2011 to July 3, 2013, (ii) July 3, 2013 to present; (l) what is the average processing time for applications received from January 1, 2011 until July 3, 2013, on behalf of Syrians seeking refugee status in Canada, broken down by (i) overall time, (ii) privately-sponsored refugee applicants, (iii) government-sponsored refugee applicants; (m) what is the average processing time for all applications received from January 1, 2011 until July 3, 2013, on behalf of individuals seeking refugee status in Canada, broken down by (i) overall time, (ii) privately-sponsored refugee applicants, (iii) government-sponsored refugee applicants; (n) what is the average processing time for applications received since July 3, 2013, on behalf of Syrians seeking refugee status in Canada, broken down by (i) overall time, (ii) privately-sponsored refugee applicants, (iii) government-sponsored refugee applicants; and (o) what is the average processing time for all applications received since July 3, 2013, on behalf of individuals seeking refugee status in Canada, broken down by (i) overall time, (ii) privately-sponsored refugee applicants, (iii) government-sponsored refugee applicants?
- MPndpDec 03, 2014 12:00 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, 50 years ago, the Government of Canada decided to use a refurbished bakery warehouse for the Canada Science and Technology Museum. The result was an uninspiring facade, leaky roofs, mouldy walls, and exposure to asbestos. Now we learn the government knew the museum's roof was collapsing.
While the Conservatives were spending over half a million dollars to re-brand the Museum of Civilization, they let asbestos rain down on exhibits and a collapsing roof compromise visitors' safety. Why did the minister delay funding and let things get this bad?
- MPndpDec 02, 2014 11:50 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, Canada's last humanitarian announcement for Syria was almost a year ago. Since then we have seen the government abandon bringing Syrian refugees to Canada. The Prime Minister claimed at the time that he would do everything to ensure there would not be a lost generation in Syria. Now, the World Food Programme says that the upcoming suspension of food will be disastrous for already suffering families and could escalate already high tensions in Syria and surrounding countries.
The question is, will the government increase aid now for Syrian refugees and live up to the Prime Minister's promise?
- MPndpNov 28, 2014 9:15 am | Ontario, Frontenac
With regard to the merger of the former Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the former Canadian International Development Agency: (a) what are the details regarding all consultants hired or retained by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development to advise on, or assist with, the merger, including (i) the date of hiring or retention, (ii) the salary or stipend, if applicable, (iii) the duration of the contract, if applicable, (iv) the position appointed; (b) how many contracts have been granted in total as a result of, or in association with, the merger process; (c) what is the value of the contracts identified in (b), broken down by (i) total amount, (ii) amount by month; and (d) which companies or individuals received these contracts?
- MPndpNov 24, 2014 11:25 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, let us be clear here that the Conservatives explicitly left the door open to bombing Syria and the NDP explicitly opposed that. Now, the government is considering expanding Canada's aerial strikes into Syria at Bashar al-Assad's behest. They have gone from “Assad must go” to “We will go with Assad's permission”.
Will the minister confirm that he is seeking Assad's permission for air strikes in Syria?
- MPndpNov 20, 2014 1:00 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, I am glad my colleague brought up Mr. Daubney, a well-respected citizen of this city and also respected in our country for his work.
The member is asking me to crawl inside the mind of certain people, but I can only observe the outcomes as opposed to what their intrinsic motivations are.
Let me quote the following:
—the experience with mandatory sentencing legislation in a number of countries has shown that these laws do little to promote public confidence in the sentencing process....minimum sentences are not an effective sentencing tool: that is, they constrain judicial discretion without offering any increased crime prevention benefits.
That is in a report from the Department of Justice. It is a telling report and we should be guided by it.
I thought my colleague from Ottawa South was warming up to quote someone who was the champion of mandatory minimums, and that is Newt Gingrich. He said that it was a total mistake and to stay away from it because it had failed completely. It is an odd day, but there are days when I agree with Newt Gingrich.
- MPndpNov 20, 2014 12:55 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, that is why we want to get the bill to committee where we can ensure we look at the issue in a smart way, which is not only about sentencing and that is it. I did not have a chance in my comments to talk about the mandatary minimum approach only. My colleague from Winnipeg talked about it.
Everyone agrees that this is a complex issue. We need to have nuance in how we respond to it. From the criminal justice point of view, some have said that if we just give mandatory minimums and that is it, then we might, without intent, be undermining the very victims who are looking for justice.
That is why it is important, as we go to committee, that we understand what we are trying to fix. As opposed to just giving a simple response, we need to have a robust response in the sentencing as well as the services that are required to prevent and deal with those perpetrators.
- MPndpNov 20, 2014 12:45 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Winnipeg for his intervention. As usual, it was very precise and well rounded. He gives me an opportunity to build on some of those argument.
I want to start with some experience I had as a teacher advocate on this issue.
One of the things that is deeply disturbing are children who are exploited by people who are entrusted to care for them. They are some of the most troublesome cases to deal with. Yes, there are cases where people are exploited by people they do not know, but there are many documented instances of people who exploit children who are under their care or supervision.
One of the ways this is done is through something called “grooming”. This is where a person of authority, through coaching, et cetera, establishes a trust relationship with the child and uses a reward system, which is called grooming. It is deeply troubling, and many have identified it as a pattern that leads to sexual exploitation. We have to look at this along with the bill, which I agree with my colleague we will support to get it to committee to see if we can improve it, for the reasons he mentioned.
Part of what we have to do is prevent this from happening. The way to do that is to look at the context of these relationships where people are in positions of authority We have seen cases recently in the media, be it coaches or people in other positions of authority. If we look back at how the abuse started, it was because there was really no one around other than the abuser. In other words, we need to better understand how to prevent it.
People can groom others because they have opportunity, and the opportunity arises when there is not a caring community around. There is not sufficient oversight. Usually that is the case where there has not been proper investment in basic community services and community centres where there is robust programming, with people who are trained and where there are protocols to make sure that people who will exploit are not coming into positions of authority.
To be frank, I do not think it is good enough to just have a police check. I think it is a matter of looking at the context, be it in an after-school program or a sports program. We need to have people involved who have the training to spot an abuse of authority and we need a required reporting mechanism.
Often we see that there is an opportunity to prevent these horrific scenarios, and that needs to be looked at as well as the law. After all, on this side of the House, we think it is important to prevent these kinds of situations from happening.
I have talked to people who have gone through this kind of experience, and it is horrific. One does not ever fully repair. One can cope after abuse, but someone who has gone through sexual exploitation as a young person never fully recovers. One cannot go back in time, and we have to understand that.
No one in this House has a monopoly on caring about this issue. On this side of the House, we think it is important that we invest smartly in all of the services we can invest in to prevent this kind of thing from happening. Part of that is just discussion. I discuss these issues with my kids. They have friends, and we talk about these things. We have to have a culture where we are not afraid to talk about these things.
I am glad to have had the opportunity just this past week, during our constituency week, to have had a three-day conference on mental health and suicide prevention. One of the things we talked about with people who are survivors and people who are involved in social services and mental health services is that it is time to change the conversation, or have the conversation.
It is time to have that conversation, where people are not in fear of discussing these albeit sensitive issues. When children feel like someone is abusing that trust relationship, they know who to speak to. Sometimes it is not the parents. As parents, we all wish it would be us, but sometimes, for all sorts of reasons, they cannot come forward. If it is not the parents, there needs to be someone else they can talk to. We need to look at this.
I wanted to start off with that, because as someone who has been a teacher advocate, working with young people and being involved in this issue a little, it is important to understand this and the importance of prevention. I remember working with my colleague from Winnipeg on the whole issue of abuse of hockey players, and doing some work with a well-known hockey player who wanted to ensure that the attention was brought forward and that we dealt with the issue.
We also have to look at how we deal with offenders. My colleague was quite on point with this issue. We have to understand what causes people to behave in this way. We absolutely have to crack down on the exploitation of those who want to take these images and make money from them. I can think of things as heinous as that, but it is hard to think of anything more heinous than taking and selling these images. Every time we hear on the radio that people have been charged with the selling of child pornography, we wonder what goes on in their heads. Sometimes these people are just trying to make a buck.
It is a moral argument about why this happens. We have to crack down on that. As wonderful as the Internet is, having brought us all sorts of opportunities, it has also brought a lot of grief and exploitation of innocent people. We need to look at that.
We also need to look at some successful programs that have dealt with accountability, in perhaps a different way than the government looks at it. We have to look at the whole approach of communities having accountability and circles of support. Those who have been involved, those who have served their time or those who are serving their time are actually challenged to be accountable for their actions.
It is an interesting discussion in criminal justice. The whole idea of accountability can be seen in different ways. Some will say that accountability should mean people go to jail for however long as they can be kept in there, and that is is. I believe in something where those who victimize someone and have been found guilty should have an opportunity to another way of being held accountable, which is confronting what they have done.
The whole idea of circles of support and accountability have been hugely successful. I know in Ottawa people have been involved. I think of Emmy Verdun, from the Anglican Church of St. John the Evangelist, who is one of the officers for the circles of support and accountability in Ottawa; Rick Keindel, Staff Sergeant, Ottawa Police Service, who is part of the group; Sharon Rouleau, the treasurer; Nicole Bedard, the secretary; and directors Robert Cormier, Alice Doell, James Foord and Kerry Lamming. These people are teachers, police officers and one is a retired pharmacist. They have become involved in the circles of support and accountability. Their work is extraordinary. Their cost is almost nothing. Sadly, the government cut funding to that program.
However, it works. The people who are involved in some of these crimes are told that at some point they have to go back into society. Even when we look at the table of proposed sentencing, at some point people are going to have to return to society. This approach tells them that they have to be accountable. The people involved in this program, often volunteers, are willing to help these people, to ensure they are accountable for what they have done, and they get support.
If we are honest about tackling this issue, then we need to look at preventing it. As I said before, we need to invest smartly in those people who are in positions of authority and trust, and can help kids speak to adults and others in a safe way. We also need to ensure that when people are finished their time, we need to have a program to ensure it does not happen again. If we do not do this, then we fail the kids who we are trying to protect.
- MPndpNov 19, 2014 12:10 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, if you seek it you will find unanimous consent for the following motion.
That this House reiterates Canada's continued support for freedom of expression and association in Hong Kong, including the right to peaceful protest; affirms Canada's support for the democratic aspirations of Hong Kong residents for genuine universal suffrage in the election of political leaders; stands with the people of Hong Kong who aspire for democracy, peace and the protection of human rights; and calls on all sides to exercise restraint during demonstrations, fully respect existing agreements in respect to the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, and open a meaningful and constructive dialogue to seek a mutually acceptable plan for electoral reform.
- MPndpNov 18, 2014 12:00 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, the global terrorism index has recorded an almost fivefold increase in fatalities caused by terror attacks around the world. Last night, we learned that the government had failed to invest almost half of its $129 million budgeted for strengthening the security of missions abroad.
I have a simple question. Is the government balancing its books by compromising the security of our diplomats?
- MPndpNov 17, 2014 11:50 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, we are proud of our researchers, but we are not proud of the government for giving away the store.
The government has refused to even release details of its licensing agreement with NewLink Genetics, even though Canadians can get access to the information on a U.S. government website. It is very bizarre.
It appears the government is trying to hide the fact that the agreement seeks to “maximize commercial return” from the vaccine instead of maximize public health.
Why will the government not do the responsible thing, take back the rights to the vaccine and focus on saving lives?
- MPndpNov 07, 2014 9:25 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, I have a petition to present today signed by hundreds of petitioners.
The petitioners are asking the government to put a hold on the deportation of asylum seekers from Burundi. They are concerned about what might happen when these people are deported back to Burundi.
The petitioners call on the government to be seized with this issue.
- MPndpOct 30, 2014 2:20 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, I would like to give my colleague credit for a very thoughtful speech. He gave some very specific examples as to why he thought the budget implementation bill was a good one, from his perspective.
There are things that trouble us, and it is not just the process. He will be glad that I will not talk about the omnibus aspect of the bill. It has been well stated and people will understand why we are against it. However, there are a couple of things that trouble us on the revenue side. It came up in question period today. The government has been unable to invest its own appropriations. People should note this because it is very important.
The government goes to Parliament every year to ask for money to appropriate. It has not been able to invest the money that has been appropriated to it. From where I come from, the son of a public servant, that means it has failed to fulfill its mandate. Therefore, I am questioning the validity of the budget, based on the government's performance to invest the moneys that have been appropriated to government. Does he have a comment about that? Does he actually understand and is he concerned about the money?
My colleague from Nova Scotia said it well. We have so many people in desperate need, particularly veterans. By the way, the word “veterans” does not appear in the document, on my read of it anyway. Is he not concerned about that? Where is he in terms of what government's role is to invest the money that is being appropriated? After all, that is what a budget is about. It is about what government wants and needs to do its work.
- MPndpOct 29, 2014 2:00 pm | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, I gather from the member's speech that she wants us to cut through the hyperbole and the usual rhetoric, so I will get right down to it.
One of the things that concerns us on this side of the House is that this is an omnibus bill. When the member sat in opposition, she had the same concerns about omnibus bills.
We are particularly concerned about refugee issues. We have seen cuts to refugee health. There is a notion that this would help out the provinces. I wonder if the member could name the provinces that requested this.
With regard to the bill itself, would she not agree with us that if there is a need for debate, amendments, and careful study, as she has suggested, we should not have an omnibus package in front of us? We should actually have these things separated and actually have a budget bill, not something of this nature.
- MPndpOct 28, 2014 11:25 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, today the U.S. Secretary of State is visiting Ottawa and holding talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. We welcome Secretary of State Kerry and we thank him for his expression of solidarity with our country.
We know the mission in Iraq was on the agenda. Could the Minister of Foreign Affairs inform the House whether the extension of Canada's combat role in Iraq was discussed?
- MPndpOct 27, 2014 11:55 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, yesterday Ukrainians bravely went to the polls throughout most of the country despite continued intimidation and aggression. The election is an important step forward for Ukrainian democracy. Elections next week in the eastern regions must also be free and fair.
How will Canada help ensure that all Ukrainians can have their say in the formation of a new government? What support will the Canadian government give to strengthen democratic governance in Ukraine following the election?
- MPndpOct 24, 2014 8:15 am | Ontario, Frontenac
Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday, ordinary passersby rushed to Corporal Nathan Cirillo's wounded body, desperately pumping his chest and urging him to hold on. Ottawa lawyer Barbara Winters was telling him, “You are loved. Your family loves you. You’re a good man. You're a brave man”.
Our hearts are broken by this killing of a young father, standing unarmed, on ceremonial guard.
Nurse Margaret Lerhe also rushed to Corporal Cirillo's aid. As we grapple with this tragedy, let her words guide us. She said, “I just think it's doing what you should do in the time of crisis”.
“You can't let this bother you. You can't let this take control of who you are and what your fundamental beliefs are.”
On behalf of this House, I want to thank Margaret Lerhe, Barbara Winters, and all the ordinary people who at a time of crisis showed us the best in our community and in our country.
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