Statements on the Hill

Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, I am rising today to remind us that 23 years ago next week was the first global scientific conference on the threat of climate change. Canada sponsored it. We were proud to have that conference opened by our Prime Minister, and the scientists gathered there made the following statement:

Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequences could be second only to a global nuclear war.

Since that time, the warnings of those scientists are no longer future warnings of disappearing ice caps, retreating glaciers, increased floods and fires. They are the daily stuff of our newspapers.

Now is the time to reflect on the warnings of scientists to reinvest in their efforts and to ensure that once again Canada takes a lead globally in the fight to reduce greenhouse gases and protect our country.

Omnibus Crime Bill

First, let me say to the hon. government benches and the members here where we agree. I would happily vote for the Victims of Terrorism Act.   I would vote to change the Criminal Records Act to replace the word “pardon” with “record suspension”.

However, I will be forced to vote against this legislation if it comes packaged with sections that would cause this country nothing but grief.

I wish to say to all hon. members on the government side whose talking points have repeatedly forced them to say that those who question the flawed premise of mandatory minimum sentences have somehow sided with criminals against victims. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Members of my family are involved in law enforcement. People close to me have been murdered.
It is not as though we side with criminals when we recognize a piece of legislation is so egregiously flawed that this place should say “no.”  We look at all the evidence from criminologists, not just one or two, but all of them. We look at evidence from our own Department of Justice that studied this matter in 2002. We look at what is happening in the U.S., not only at the fact that its prisons are full of people but its prisons are full of people disproportionately low-income and black.

We also look at what could happen in this country. We have seen the report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and the report on the Commission on Systemic Racism in the Ontario Criminal Justice System. We know that with this legislation, without a lot of changes in our system, we would disproportionately fill our jails with people who should not be in jail.

We also know that this legislation would cost us billions, which has not been fully costed.  Yet, at the end of the day, it may actually result in weaker sentences for those who deserve higher sentences because we would ruin the opportunity for judicial discretion.

National All Buffleheads Day

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to share good news with the House that members of my community, over 100 strong, gathered on Saturday, October 15 to celebrate two important milestones, the 80th anniversary of the creation of the Shoal Harbour Protected Area and the re-emergence and punctual arrival of the little Bufflehead duck.

We have now created in local Saanich—Gulf Islands, through the Sidney town proclamation and the North Saanich town proclamation, an All Buffleheads Day for October 15. This is our “Hinterland’s Who’s Who” moment since I share with my colleagues that this little duck is a rapid diver, a tree nester and punctual, returning from its migrations all across Canada within a day or two of October 15.

I urge colleagues to join me when I put forward a Private Member’s Bill that October 15 should henceforth be National All Buffleheads Day.