Submitted by MP Jay Hill
Due to publication deadlines, I wasnâ€™t able to include in my report last week another piece of federal legislation that our Conservative Government has introduced in the past month which is of great importance to British Columbians.
Democratic Reform Minister Steven Fletcher tabled Bill C-12 to restore representation by population in the House of Commons. The representation formula has not been updated since 1985. Over time, this has penalized British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, Canadaâ€™s faster-growing provinces.
Our Government is acting to restore fair representation for these three provinces while protecting the seat counts of slower growth provinces.
The Bill proposes to expand the House of Commons by 30 members to 338 MPs. If this legislation is passed, British Columbia will have an additional 7 seats in the Commons, while Alberta would have 5 more and Ontario would have an additional 18 MPs.
Another development that took place over the past week is deeply troubling and gravely disturbing to Canadians and to our Conservative Government!
It was revealed that convicted sex offender and former minor hockey coach Graham James was granted a pardon for his crimes by the National Parole Board.
While the National Parole Board is fully independent in its operations and decision-making, our Government is shocked that we are only learning of it three years after Graham James was pardoned. This decision was made without our Government’s consent or knowledge.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has asked for an explanation on how the National Parole Board can pardon someone who committed such horrific crimes that remain shocking to all Canadians.
The Prime Minister has also asked Public Safety Minister Vic Toews to propose reforms that will ensure that the National Parole Board always and unequivocally puts the public’s safety first. Meanwhile, groups such as the John Howard Society and high-profile defense attorneys are critical of what they view as a knee-jerk reaction to this news by our Conservative Government.
I have no doubt about the views of the constituents of Prince George-Peace River on this matter. I share your anger and outrage at Jamesâ€™ pardon and I thank all of those constituents who have written or called to express your belief that reforms to the parole system are necessary to ensure the safety or our communities!
On a final note, our Conservative Government is also looking for your feedback on another issue of national importance. Late last month, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty launched nation-wide consultations on Canadaâ€™s Retirement Income System.
Canadians work hard to realize their retirement dreams and the need to protect this became especially apparent during the global economic crisis. Our Government will be giving Canadians an unprecedented opportunity to provide direct input on the future security and soundness of Canadaâ€™s retirement income system.
Public town hall meetings, roundtable discussions and conferences will be held across the country in the coming weeks. In addition, individual Canadians are encouraged to participate in online consultations. Have your say in the future security of our retirement income system before the April 30th deadline at www.fin.gc.ca