February 2012 Parliamentary Report
THE COMING SESSION
Parliament resumes January 31, 2012 with a full agenda, not the least of which will be completing the 2012 Budget. The Government is committed to following the low tax plan for jobs and economic growth outlined during last year’s election.
The Environment Committee on which I serve will complete its report on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, hopefully focusing on better results for the environment. We will also complete our study on the impact and management of invasive terrestrial species.
The Justice Committee will complete its study of organized crime and continue to review Government justice legislation.
I have publicly proposed a Parliamentary review of the 400 year old definition of “human being” contained in Section 223 of the Criminal Code. It states that a child does not become a human being until the moment of complete birth.
It seems plain to me that a child is a human being at some point before the moment of complete birth required in Section 223, although I recommend Parliament inform itself from the relevant disciplines.
My view is that in Canada every human being should be recognized as a human being. A law which designates anyone who is a human being as not human is not legitimate, just or honest. Further, no law which is not legitimate, just or honest can be justified simply to achieve a predetermined result or to satisfy a particular philosophy.
Supreme Court Justice Bertha Wilson, in 1988, ruled that it is up to Parliament to do exactly what I am now proposing.
Polls show that 79% of Canadians incorrectly believe Canadian law already provides some protection for children before the moment of complete birth. Polls also show that, when informed, 72% of Canadians believe that the human rights of children before birth should receive some protection.
Although this question is relevant to the issue of abortion, failing to uphold the principle that every human being must be recognized as a human being has even wider and more serious implications for our country.
In Canada, there are two programs that provide financial support to older Canadians. The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS). CPP is funded through premiums that working Canadians pay and is on a secure and sustainable path. OAS is funded primarily through taxes on working people and is unsustainable on its current course.
Canada must act now, with plenty of advance notice, or it will face the same decision as Greece and Italy – cut benefits to seniors because we cannot pay our bills. Other countries have already introduced measures to take action and raise the retirement age. Specific examples are Germany and Australia, raising the age from 65 to 67, over a number of years.
This is an issue that cannot be ignored.