The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing -- Edmund Burke
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
there may not have been funerals in the first place and consequently no embarrassing questions about gamesmanship.So far nothing has changed since the four officers were murdered, just lots of talk ,as usual, and crocodile tears.The gamesmanship rests with allowing a soft justice system deal with violent criminals who prey on innocent Canadians.It's a game that puts Canadians' lives at risk.What was he doing with an assault rifle and why is it supposed to take 18 months to investigate? That's not gamesmanship, that's asking legitimate questions for which there have only been feeble answers.
"The signs of erosion on our campuses are undeniable, whether we examine declining test scores, spiraling costs, or college graduates' ignorance of basic facts and ideas. In response, our academic leadership is not talking about a more competitive curriculum, higher standards of academic accomplishment, or the critical need freely to debate important issues. Instead, it remains obsessed with a racial, ideological, and sexual spoils system called "diversity." Even as the airline industry was deregulated in the 1970s, and Wall Street now has come under long-overdue scrutiny, it is time for Americans, if we are to ensure our privileged future, to re-examine our era's politicized university."
The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in persons), be read the second time -
Mr. Réal Ménard (Hochelaga, BQ)...........
So, I am now getting to the issue of human trafficking, which is an extremely important issue, at least as important as the trafficking of goods or the illegal transborder trade. The UN set up a task force in which Franciscans International, as an NGO, is recognized as a stakeholder. I looked for some figures for Canada.
I remember that when the committee was working on the issue of prostitution, we were looking for figures. It is not easy to get an assessment on such an issue.
I obtained a confidential and protected document prepared in 2002 by Immigration Canada and the RCMP. I am referring to the first paragraph, on page 6, which says: “Over a five year period, about 13% of improperly documented arrivals that came to Canada or that were intercepted en route to Canada were directly related to a trafficker or an escort”.
This means that 13% of the people who entered Canada in various ways, by air, sea or land, did not have a passport or official travel documents, and of course, did not have a visa permitting them to enter.
A little further along in the document, the RCMP and Immigration Canada make the following assessment: “If only the people arriving by airplane are considered, this proportion rises to 25.1%.”
A look at the literature on illegal immigration will show that, for Canada, it is about 10,000 people a year. This is not an insignificant number. As lawmakers, we have good reason to be concerned about this.
There is another more humanitarian consideration. We know that there are people all over the world going through upheavals in their countries: genocide, the overthrow of the political regime, famines. They are going through terrible times. Therefore they want to leave their countries. What would we do if we were in their shoes, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, or Niger, or certain countries in Africa where people cannot survive on $1 a day? We should ask ourselves the question. It is possible that we too, as human beings, would be tempted to want to improve our fate and leave our country of origin. It is not unpatriotic to want to improve one's fate.
It should be understood that in terrible situations like those I just described, people are vulnerable and put themselves in the hands of traffickers. This is why there is illegal international immigration. People take advantage of the misfortune and unhappiness of others. They demand money and hold out the possibility of coming to live in a third country. In my example, of course, we are speaking of Canada.
The document from the RCMP and Immigration Canada estimates the amount that is asked from these poor people living in anguish. I would like to quote from the document: “The fees paid by migrants to enter Canada are high. They are said to be rising. The cost depends on the means of transportation and the market. According to illegal migrants, the fees vary between US$20,000 and US$50,000.”
US$50,000 is easily C$70,000.
“Few clients are able to amass the necessary funds by liquidating their personal assets, and even fewer are prepared to risk such a large sum by paying the full price before reaching their destination. A portion of the cost of human smuggling, perhaps as little as 10% to 20%, is paid in advance. The rest is collected upon delivery to the final destination.”
Remember that we are not talking about goods here but rather about human beings.
Hon. Stephen Harper (Leader of the Opposition, CPC): Mr. Speaker, today the families of the four RCMP officers tragically murdered near Mayerthorpe, Alberta are in Ottawa and they are seeking some changes to the criminal justice system.
Since this tragedy, we have continued to see a shocking rise in gun crime and gun violence right across this country but no action at all from the government. Will the Prime Minister join with police officers, their families and others across the country in committing to mandatory minimum sentences for serious repeat and violent crimes?
Right Hon. Paul Martin (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I was in Alberta for the commemoration and memorials in honour of the four Mounties who lost their lives. It certainly was one of the most emotional experiences I have ever gone through and I am sure for those who watched it, it was exactly the same thing.
I met the families and had long discussions with them. I can assure the families and I can assure the hon. member that the government takes the issues that he has raised very seriously and that the government does intend, as has already been indicated, to act within this area........
Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the statistics would show that the government does not anticipate a windfall from this situation. However we are determined to redirect any increased federal revenues to the benefit of Canadians, especially those in the greatest need. As I have said several times, we are considering our options for doing that in the most efficient and cost effective manner.
Mr. Peter MacKay (Central Nova, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the finance minister's credibility on surplus as well as corporate tax breaks is pretty speculative. Seniors and Canadians on fixed incomes getting their oil tanks filled this winter, truckers bringing in products on an already razor thin margin and farmers and fishermen bringing in cash crop and catch are all being hit by the increased cost of fuel.
The Prime Minister said that lowering the gas taxes would not be an answer, that this was not what was required. His finance minister said the same thing, that lowering taxes at the pump would not make a difference. It would make a difference for Canadians.
Why are Canadians carrying the costs of these increases in taxes and when will we see some action on the cost of fuel?
Hon. Ralph Goodale (Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I wish the problem were as simple to solve as the hon. gentleman suggests. Unfortunately, the complexity and the volatility of the marketing chain means that we can see at the pump a variation in prices of 5¢ or 10¢ within a matter of a few hours.
A tax break of 2¢ or 3¢ per litre would rapidly become invisible. Indeed, the industry suggests that we would need a forensic auditor to find it.....
Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, CPC): Mr. Speaker, across Canada there has been a rapid increase in marijuana grow operations and crystal meth labs, destroying entire neighbourhoods. Along with the drug dealing is a marked increase in gun related violence.
How many more people need to die in our streets before the government decides to eliminate house arrest and impose mandatory prison sentences for drug dealers and violent gun crimes?
Hon. Irwin Cotler (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the government will be introducing legislation particularly with regard to combatting issues of conditional sentences and ensuring both that our streets are safe and that innocent victims are protected.
Mr. Vic Toews (Provencher, CPC): Mr. Speaker, that is a promise the government has been making for 12 years. Social programs cannot work in drug and gun plagued communities unless the government is prepared to increase front line police resources and institute mandatory prison sentences for drug dealers, gunmen and other repeat violent offenders.
Will the minister commit today to eliminating house arrest for drug dealers and violent or repeat offenders and send them to prison so our children and our youth are safe?
Hon. Irwin Cotler (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we are committed to introducing every initiative to protecting our streets and innocent victims, not only with regard to conditional sentencing in matters of gun related crime. While we now have more mandatory minimums for gun related crimes than any other crime in the Criminal Code, save for murder, we are still looking at that matter with regard to any initiatives we can introduce in regard to protecting our streets and our victims. We would appreciate the co-operation of the opposition in that regard.
Mr. Rob Merrifield (Yellowhead, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it has now been seven months since the four RCMP officers were killed near Mayerthorpe. The families want changes to the justice system that has failed them miserably.
Today they are calling for a complete review of the justice system. We cannot blame the judges, but legislators must send a clear message to the courts: serious crime deserves serious time.
Will the government commit to minimum sentences for serious drug and crime violations?
Hon. Irwin Cotler (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, together with the Minister of Health we rescheduled the whole question of crystal meth so we could attack it with enhanced sentencing in that regard. We have legislation before the House with regard to four new offences with enhanced penalties to combat the grow ops across the country. Where it is necessary we will introduce the required penalties in that regard.
Mr. Rob Merrifield (Yellowhead, CPC): Mr. Speaker, raising the maximums on crystal meth does not solve the problem when the minimums are not there.
Last week the RCMP officers raided another Quonset hut in Mayerthorpe and turned up 800 marijuana plants.
Marijuana and crystal meth are ruining lives and harming our communities, while criminals scoff at the law and laugh at our weak sentences. RCMP families see the dangers in the soft approach to marijuana in Bill C-17. They want it scrapped and so do we.
Will the government admit it was wrong and scrap the marijuana bill?
Hon. Irwin Cotler (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we introduced the bill. That bill is now before the House and now before the parliamentary committee. We respect the role of the parliamentary committee, and that is where the bill now resides.....
Mr. Christian Simard (Beauport—Limoilou, BQ): Mr. Speaker, faced with the sponsorship scandal, the federal government is not learning from its mistakes. The Prime Minister just appointed as head of Service Canada the very person who was in charge of the gun registry, another scandal involving nearly $2 billion for which his government will soon have to answer.
How can the Prime Minister explain his choice in appointing such a mediocre manager as the head of Service Canada?
Hon. Belinda Stronach (Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister responsible for Democratic Renewal, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, if anyone looks at the service Canada details, I think it is a fantastic story. It is about better service to more Canadians in more Canadian communities. In fact, we are expanding our points of service in the next couple of years from 300 to 600. Therefore, this is a great news story.
There are many layers of accountability factored in, including an advisory board, an office for client satisfaction and a service charter.
I am very proud to be associated with service Canada. It is a great news story.
Mr. Christian Simard (Beauport—Limoilou, BQ): Mr. Speaker, we shall see if the Auditor General is as proud as the minister. She reviewed the administration of the program and concluded that the program was poorly managed. One of those responsible for this mismanagement is the person selected by the Prime Minister to establish Service Canada.
Can the minister justify such a poor choice? Has the minister not learned any lessons from the sponsorship scandal, to be appointing such an individual as the head of Service Canada?
Hon. Belinda Stronach (Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister responsible for Democratic Renewal, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is providing better service to more Canadian communities. It is outstanding service delivery organization with a view toward continuous improvement. It has a service charter and an office for client satisfaction, all with a view to creating a culture of one stop service delivery and continuous improvement for Canadian services..........
Technology Partnerships Canada
Mr. James Rajotte (Edmonton—Leduc, CPC): Mr. Speaker, today 15 companies in receipt of a Technology Partnerships Canada grant have directly violated the terms of their agreements. They have paid lobbyists large fees to help them secure money through this program. Despite the fact that they clearly violated the contract with the taxpayers of Canada, they still receive the balance of the TPC grant and the lobbyists may still be in possession of the money that they were given.
Why do companies that violate contracts with the Canadian taxpayer continue to receive public funds?
Hon. David Emerson (Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we have been reviewing TPC for over a year now. We have done some administrative audits. We have discussed it with the Auditor General in terms of our approach. The Auditor General completely agrees with what we are doing and how we are doing it.
We are recovering any moneys that were inappropriately paid out to lobbyists. These are companies that are in breach of their contract. We are acting swiftly, firmly and with zero tolerance to fix the problem.
Mr. James Rajotte (Edmonton—Leduc, CPC): Mr. Speaker, that is not true. The fact is that a company still gets the balance of the money that was given to it and lobbyists may in fact still have the money that was given to them by the company.
This is a program that spent over $2.5 billion but has recovered only 5%. Now we know about companies breaching their contracts and lobbyists receiving illegal payments. When will the minister finally release the audits of this program and state to the House how much money has been received by lobbyists against the contracts of this company, and how much money taxpayers are on the hook for through this program?
Hon. David Emerson (Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that over 80% of the companies that benefit from technology partnerships are small and medium sized businesses. The government is not in the business of killing companies. We are in the business of helping them implement technology and where there has been a breach of contract, we want that breach remedied.....
Mr. Gary Lunn (Saanich—Gulf Islands, CPC): Mr. Speaker, Mr. Coffin stole $1.5 million from Canadians, a theft made possible by the systematic corruption in the Liberal government. The courts sentenced Mr. Coffin to house arrest with a 9 p.m. curfew only on weekdays. That is pathetic enough, but this sentence is a direct result of changes made to the justice system by the Liberal government where it allows criminals to serve jail sentences at home in their living rooms.
Liberal laws and our justice system are failing Canadians every day. When is the government going to change them?
Hon. Irwin Cotler (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this is not an issue of the law. This is a decision made by a judge. The laws are there for the purposes of any kind of penalty that a judge wishes to impose at this time.
Mr. James Moore (Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, CPC): Mr. Speaker, Paul Coffin defrauded Canadians out of $1.5 million. For this crime, he got a mere two years of house arrest. Even Martha Stewart spent time in jail.
In Canada, our liberal laws have failed Canadians and helped the friends of the Liberal Party. Is this the Liberal concept of justice?
Hon. Irwin Cotler (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this case is now before the courts. The provincial Crown is responsible for taking the necessary action....
Mr. Gordon O'Connor (Carleton—Mississippi Mills, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government has done nothing to implement its impossibly conceived campaign promise to boost the armed forces by 8,000 troops.
Just like its improbable five year budget increase, the government is planning for a troop increase that is scheduled to begin three years from now. The last time I checked, the Prime Minister promised an election within six months. This is just another election promise without action.
The armed forces are desperately overstretched and overworked. They need more than rhetoric. Why will the government not fulfill its promise to the forces?
Hon. Bill Graham (Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I wish the hon. member had spent the summer as I did, going around talking to the members of our armed forces, who are extremely grateful to the government for stepping forward and putting into place a defence policy they respect, a new chief who is inspiring them and money to get them in the budget. We are recruiting members and the morale is higher than it has ever been before.
I hate to disappoint the hon. member, but we are going in the right direction and he knows it, so I would not play politics with this one. This government is delivering for our armed forces in a way nobody has in this country for years.
Mr. Gordon O'Connor (Carleton—Mississippi Mills, CPC): Mr. Speaker, that is fiddle-faddle. DND is one of the most bureaucratic departments of government. It spends most of its time supporting endless administrative processes. That is why DND is having such difficulty meeting the Liberals' impulsively conceived recruiting goal. The training and recruiting system is simply constipated.
Other than issuing a costly report talking about what needs to be done, the Liberals have actually done nothing to achieve administrative efficiency. How can the government hope to meet its recruiting goal without slashing the red tape at DND?
Hon. Bill Graham (Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has not been in the House long enough to remember that another hon. member in this House said fuddle duddle, not fiddle-faddle, but as you may recall, that called for some interference from the Chair so I hesitate to go in that direction.
I do want to say that I will go back to where I came from in the first place. I urge the hon. member to talk to the troops. They believe we are on the right track. Of course we have problems. Do we need to speed it up? We will speed it up. Can we do better? We will do better. We are on the right track. I am proud to be the defence minister and I am proud to lead our troops as we go ahead.
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"A popular theme last weekend was, "War, what is it good for?" Well, the answer is that war's good for plenty of things. It freed and forged our nation. War liberated millions of black Americans from bondage. War stopped Hitler, if too late for many millions of his victims (peace at any price tends to have a very high price, indeed).
And our troops liberated 50 million human beings in Afghanistan and Iraq — who are far more grateful than the protesters or our media will accept.
In this infernally troubled world, war is sometimes the only effective response to greater evils. And there is evil on this earth. It would also be easier to sympathize with the anti-war protesters if they occasionally criticized the terrorists who bomb the innocent.
But the protesters don't really care about Iraqi suffering, or terror, or the Taliban's legacy. They're a forlorn mix of Bush-haters who reject election results that they don't like and drifting souls yearning for a cause to lend their failed lives meaning. "