An Act to amend the Criminal Code (firearms)

This bill was last introduced in the 38th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in November 2005.

Sponsor

Irwin Cotler  Liberal

Status

Not active, as of Nov. 25, 2005
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to

(a) increase certain minimum penalties relating to smuggling, trafficking in and possession of firearms and other weapons;

(b) create two new offences: breaking and entering to steal a firearm and robbery to steal a firearm;

(c) expand the application of provisions relating to prohibitions on the possession of a firearm or other weapon, including where a firearm has been used in the commission of certain offences or where the accused, suffering from a mental disorder, is released on conditions;

(d) provide for the court to delay release on parole in cases involving the use of a firearm in the commission of certain serious offences; and

(e) extend measures to assist and protect witnesses to cases relating to offences involving a firearm or other weapon.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

May 17th, 2007 / 1:45 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to speak today in this House about Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (minimum penalties for offences involving firearms) and to make a consequential amendment to another Act.

This bill has been brought back to the House with significant changes after being reviewed by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. But behind the scenes, an unholy alliance has developed between the reactionary minority Conservative government and the NDP. Together, these two parties put back a series of regressive provisions, ruining the good work of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. I think that the newly amended bill is simply not good legislation.

However, I am happy that this bill has shed some light on the debate on mandatory minimum penalties.

So I am proud to speak, and I invite my fellow members to follow the lead of the Liberals and vote against the bill as newly amended.

The bill the government initially introduced proposed heavier minimum sentences for repeat offences, despite the views expressed by experts on the fight against crime. In addition, the bill even went so far as to add offences unrelated to the crime in question to the previous convictions.

It is important to remind this House why the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights so substantially amended the initial bill. The opposition members on the committee were very reluctant to introduce escalating minimum sentences depending on the number of previous convictions.

In undertaking this tack, the committee members were simply agreeing with most of the expert evidence they heard. In the opinion of all the experts, and it is perhaps rather surprising, there is no proof that minimum terms of imprisonment deter offenders who commit serious crimes.

In certain cases, in California, for example, the method seems to have actually been counterproductive. The annual rate of serious crime has risen since this type of sentencing was introduced. This is the conclusion of the recent report by a commission set up to study the California correctional system.

In January 2005, the Little Hoover Commission submitted to the governor of California its report on what it called “California's corrections crisis”. The report highlights the major failure of the Californian “three strikes and you're out” system. It raises serious questions about the Californian model of sentencing, which there is called “determinate sentencing”. Here in Canada, it is called “minimum mandatory penalties”. In other words, its determinate sentence is the U.S. equivalent of the mandatory minimums that the Conservative government wishes to not implement, but to make even harsher and escalating here in Canada.

The report of the Little Hoover Commission of California is clear:

Despite the rhetoric, thirty years of “tough on crime” politics has not made the state safer. Quite the opposite...

California has one of the highest recidivism rates in the nation. Furthermore, Governor Schwarzenegger himself described the California prison system as a powder keg.

Is it not absurd that at the very moment that Americans are trying to fix their flawed system, Canada, under the Conservative minority retrograde government, is trying to copy the American's old and utterly proven to be inefficient model?

The American model of escalating minimum mandatory sentences is a failed model. Why in God's name, for heaven's sake, would Canadians want to follow a failed model? We want to follow models of excellence. The American model of determinate sentencing, and in particular escalating determinate sentencing, which is the equivalent of the Canadian mandatory minimum sentencing or penalties, is a failed model. In fact, since 2003, some 25 American states have eliminated their lengthy minimum mandatory penalties and their escalator penalties.

Criticisms of mandatory minimum sentencing are based on very sound arguments. It has more than its share of drawbacks. Often, and because of the excessively serious consequences it can have, what happens is charges are withdrawn or pleas are modified to get the charges changed and diminished. Equally often, the threat of a mandatory minimum sentence will discourage an accused person from pleading guilty, which obviously results in greater costs and delays for the system.

As well, this type of measure can also make a jury hesitate to convict, not because of the accused's actual guilt or innocence, because the sentence strikes the jury as being unjustly harsh, given the crime committed, given the accused, given the victim and given the real and proven impact on the victim and the community.

Also, it is known that mandatory minimum sentencing seems, as evidenced by the Australian and American experiences, to hit harder at members of certain ethnocultural communities, blacks and aboriginals. That certainly is not an outcome that Canada should be seeking.

Paradoxically, the increase in mandatory minimum sentences suggested in the newly amended bill would have cost Canada's justice system an exorbitant amount of money. Does this government realize that, by proposing to increase the number and length of minimum sentences and decrease the number of conditional sentences, it would have added a huge number of inmates to our already overcrowded penitentiaries, according to its own Minister of Public Safety?

According to Neil Boyd of Simon Fraser University, Canada would have to build no fewer than 23 new prisons to house all these new inmates. At $82,000 a year per inmate, the bill this government initially introduced would have cost Canadian taxpayers an additional $220 million to $245 million over five years.

In addition, this new obsession with sending people to prison systematically will obviously lead to other additional costs, because it is reasonable to assume that, with this attitude, appeals and lengthy trials will become increasingly common. Mandatory minimum sentences are therefore not the best way of dealing with crime in Canada. They restrict judges' discretionary power to look at the particular circumstances of a case. We should use mandatory minimum sentences very sparingly to target specific offences and, above all, we should limit them to first offences. That is what Bill C-82, introduced under the former Liberal government, sought to do.

The whole point of minimum sentencing is its effect on an individual committing a first offence, taking into consideration the impact on the victim of that offence and on the community where the offence took place. It is designed to take the person guilty of serious wrongdoing out of his or her community for awhile in order to prevent that person from committing other crimes, while at the same time ensuring the community is not put at risk again. In such cases, this kind of sentencing serves its purpose very well.

The problem with escalating minimum mandatory sentencing, proposed in the newly amended version of Bill C-10, was that they applied to repeat offenders. What was initially proposed would have forbidden judges, in the case of a recidivist, to tailor an appropriate sentence that took into account the criminal, himself or herself, the particular circumstances and nature of the new crime, the impact on the victim and the community and the background situation and the possibility of rehabilitation.

In the case of a repeat offence, a judge needs to be able to consider all these factors in order to determine an appropriate sentence. With escalating minimum sentences, this is impossible. With this bill, as it has been amended at report stage by the government with the collusion of the NDP, it will now be impossible.

The newly amended bill shows that the government wants to bring its so-called crime fighting strategy into line with the repressive approach favoured in the United States by the very right wing. The Conservative Party is proposing to emulate a model that does not work.

I might add that the NDP's support for this style of justice is baffling, at the very least. Once again the NDP is sacrificing its progressive roots for short term political gain and being the enabler of the right wing agenda of the Prime Minister.

Let us look at a few facts. The difference in rates of serious offences between our two countries is astonishing. For example, according to Statistics Canada, and that is not a left wing organization, the rates for robberies are 59% higher in the United States than in Canada. What about the rates for aggravated assault? They are 85% higher in the United States than in Canada. What about the murder rates? The murder rates are 275% higher south of our border than they are in Canada.

I am sure my hon. colleagues will be interested to learn that a Calgary resident is 840% less likely to be the victim of murder than a resident of Dallas. If we want to compare the degree of safety of our two capital cities, a resident of Washington, D.C. is 2,700% more likely than his or her Ottawa counterpart to be the victim of a serious crime.

I do not know where the government wants to lead us with its copycat, tough on crime strategy, but one thing is certain. These numbers show—

Motions in Amendment
Criminal Code
Government Orders

April 30th, 2007 / 12:40 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the comment just made by the hon. NDP member, he knows very well that the former prime minister of the Liberal government was very committed to Bill C-82.

We must ensure that Canadians are not deceived again, which is more or less what the Conservatives and the current Prime Minister are trying to do with the environment. In fact, they are trying to do the same thing with the criminal justice file and, unfortunately, the NDP has abandoned its principles here in this House.

Bill C-10, which the Liberals tried to amend in committee, was blocked by the Conservatives and the New Democrats. The amendments were intended to ensure stronger mandatory minimum sentences for convictions for a first offence.

Furthermore, case law clearly shows that in cases of recidivism, a judge can take into account any aggravating factors, including the recidivism itself, the impact on the victim, the impact on the community, special circumstances surrounding the commission of the offence and so on, and can ensure that the penalties imposed are more severe than the minimum sentence.

I have a number of motions to table.

I move:

That Motion No. 5 be amended by deleting all the words after the words “as follows” and substituting the following:

7. (1) The portion of subsection 95(1) of the Act before paragraph (a) is replaced by the following:

95. (1) Subject to subsection (3), every person commits an offence who, in any place, possesses a loaded prohibited firearm or restricted firearm, or an unloaded prohibited firearm or restricted firearm together with readily accessible ammunition that is capable of being discharged in the firearm, unless the person is the holder of

(2) Paragraph 95(2)(a) of the Act is replaced by the following:

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of two years; or

I also move:

That Motion No. 6 be amended by deleting all of the words after the words “as follows” and substituting the following:

10. Subsection 99(2) of the Act is replaced by the following:

(2) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) where the object in question is a firearm, a prohibited device, any ammunition or any prohibited ammunition is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of two years.

(3) In any other case, a person who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year.

I move:

That Motion No. 7 be amended by deleting all of the words after the words “as follows“ and substituting the following:

11. Subsection 100(2) of the Act is replaced by the following:

(2) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) by possessing a firearm, a prohibited device, any ammunition or any prohibited ammunition is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of two years.

(3) In any other case, a person who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year.

I move:

That Motion No. 8 be amended by deleting all of the words after the words “as follows” and substituting the following:

13. Subsection 103(2) of the Act is replaced by the following:

(2) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) where the object in question is a firearm, a prohibited device or any prohibited ammunition is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of two years.

(2.1) In any other case, a person who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year.

I move:

That Motion No. 9 be amended by deleting all of the words after the words “as follows” and substituting the following:

17. Section 239 of the Act is replaced by the following:

239. (1) Every person who attempts by any means to commit murder is guilty of an indictable offence and liable

(a) if a restricted firearm or prohibited firearm is used in the commission of the offence or if any firearm is used in the commission of the offence and the offence is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with, a criminal organization, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of five years.

(a.1) in any other case where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and

(b) in any other case, to imprisonment for life.

I move:

That Motion No. 10 be amended by deleting all of the words after “as follows” and by substituting the following:

18. Section 244 of the Act is replaced by the following:

244 (1) Every person commits an offence who discharges a firearm at a person with intent to wound, maim or disfigure, to endanger the life of or to prevent the arrest or detention of any person--whether or not that person is the one at whom the firearm is discharged.

(2) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable

(a) if a restricted firearm or prohibited firearm is used in the commission of the offence or if the offence is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with, a criminal organization, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of five years; and

(b) in any other case, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years.

I move:

That Motion No. 11 be amended by deleting all of the words after “as follows” and by substituting the following:

19(1) Paragraph 272(2)(a) of the Act is replaced by the following:

a) if a restricted firearm or prohibited firearm is used in the commission of the offence or if any firearm is used in the commission of the offence and the offence is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with, a criminal organization, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of five years;

(a.1) in any other case where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and....

I move:

That Motion No. 12 be amended by deleting all of the words after “as follows” and by substituting the following:

20(1) Paragraph 273(2)(a) of the Act is replaced by the following:

a) if a restricted firearm or prohibited firearm is used in the commission of the offence or if any firearm is used in the commission of the offence and the offence is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with, a criminal organization, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of five years;

(a.1) in any other case where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and....

I move:

That Motion No. 13 by amended by deleting all of the words after “as follows” and by substituting the following:

21(1) Paragraph (279)(1.1)(a) of the Act is replaced by the following:

(a) if a restricted firearm or prohibited firearm is used in the commission of the offence or if any firearm is used in the commission of the offence and the offence is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with, a criminal organization, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of five years;

(a.1) in any other case where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and....

I move:

That Motion No. 14 be amended by deleting all of the words after “as follows” and by substituting the following:

22(1) Subsection 279.1(1) the following:

279.1(1) Everyone who takes a person hostage who--with intent to induce any person, other than the hostage, or any group of persons or any state or international or intergovernmental organization to commit or cause to be committed any act or omission as a condition, whether expressed or implied, of the release of the hostage--

(a) confines, imprisons, forcibly seizes or detains that person; and

(b) in any manner utters, conveys or causes any person to receive a threat that the death of, or bodily harm to, the hostage will be caused or that the confinement, imprisonment or detention of the hostage will be continued.

(2) Paragraph 279.1(2)(a) of the Act is replaced by the following:

(a) if a restricted firearm or prohibited firearm is used in the commission of the offence or if any firearm is used in the commission of the offence and the offence is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with, a criminal organization, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of five years;

(a.1) in any other case where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and....

I move:

That Motion No. 15 be amended by deleting all of the words after “as follows” and by substituting the following:

23(1) Section 344 of the Act is renumbered as subsection 344(1).

(2) Paragraph 344(1)(a) of the Act is replaced by the following:

(a) if a restricted firearm or prohibited firearm is used in the commission of the offence or if any firearm is used in the commission of the offence and the offence is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a criminal organization, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of five years;

(a.1) in any other case where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and....

Finally, I move:

That Motion No. 16 be amended by deleting all of the words after “as follows” and by substituting the following:

24(1) Paragraph 346(1.1)(a) of the Act is replaced by the following:

(a) if a restricted firearm or prohibited firearm is used in the commission of the offence or if any firearm is used in the commission of the offence and the offence is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with, a criminal organization, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of five years;

(a.1) in any other case where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and....

February 20th, 2007 / 9:45 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Rob Moore Fundy Royal, NB

Thanks, Chair.

I'm not going to challenge your ruling. It's just to make clear the distinction that the Liberals' amendments deal with gutting this bill and turning it into their old Bill C-82. The amendments I'm talking about were not introduced by the Liberals, but I'm basing them on their platform, which was quite different from their position at committee.

But I'm not going to be giving my consent to introduce Bill C-82 into this bill, which is a good bill.

November 27th, 2006 / 3:40 p.m.
See context

Tony Cannavino President, Canadian Police Association

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Chair, committee members, good afternoon.

The Canadian Police Association welcomes the opportunity to present our submissions to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights with respect to Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (minimum penalties for offences involving firearms).

The CPA is the national voice for 54,700 police personnel serving across Canada. Through our 170 member associations, CPA membership includes police personnel serving in police services from Canada's smallest towns and villages as well as those working in our largest municipal cities, provincial police services, members of the RCMP, railway police and First Nations police associations.

The Canadian Police Association is acknowledged as a national voice for police personnel in the reform of the Canadian criminal justice system. Our goal is to work with elected officials from all parties, to bring about meaningful reforms to enhance the safety and security of all Canadians, including those sworn to protect our communities.

Urban violence has been a significant concern for our association. For over a decade, police associations have been advocating reforms to our justice system in Canada, and in particular we've called for changes to bolster the sentencing, detention, and parole of violent offenders.

At our 2004 annual general meeting, CPA delegates unanimously adopted a resolution that includes a call for federal legislation to be introduced to ensure tougher and more adequate mandatory prison sentences for individuals involved in firearm-related crime.

Repeat offenders are a serious problem. There's been considerable debate at this committee about the use of minimum sentences and the frequency of repeat offenders. Make no mistake about it: repeat offenders are a serious problem. Police understand this intuitively, as we deal with these frequent flyers on a routine basis.

Statistics released by the Toronto police homicide squad for 2005 demonstrate this point. Among the 32 people facing murder or manslaughter charges for homicide in 2006, 14 were on bail at the time of the offence, 13 were on probation, and 17 were subject to firearms prohibition orders. The revolving-door justice system is failing to prevent further criminal activity by these repeat violent offenders.

Gun violence requires a non-partisan approach. Support for tougher measures to thwart gun violence transcends party lines. During the last federal election, three major parties promised tougher sentences for crimes involving firearms. The NDP platform promised to “Increase the mandatory minimum penalty for possession, sale and importation of illegal arms such as hand guns, assault rifles and automatic weapons”, and “Add mandatory minimum sentences to other weapons offences”, including a “four-year minimum sentence on all weapon offences, such as possession of a concealed weapons'”.

Former Prime Minister Martin promised to toughen penalties “by re-introducing legislation to crack down on violent crimes and gang violence, by doubling the mandatory minimum sentences for key gun crimes”. Former Liberal Justice Minister Irwin Cotler introduced Bill C-82 in November 2005 to address gun violence. Bill C-82 would include increasing certain minimum penalties relating to smuggling, trafficking in, and possession of firearms and other weapons, and creating two new offences, breaking and entering to steal a firearm and robbery to steal a firearm.

When Bill C-10 was introduced this spring, Premier McGuinty was quoted as stating that the bill will “make a real difference when it comes to promoting safety for our families and our communities”. Last year, Conservative MP Daryl Kramp introduced a private member's bill, Bill C-215, that would require that a sentence for commission of certain serious offences be supplemented if a firearm is used in the commission of that offence.

A justice department survey conducted in March 2005 by Decima Research confirmed that an “overwhelming majority” of Canadians support mandatory minimum jail terms for gun crimes such as robbery with a firearm and criminal negligence causing death with a firearm. According to CanWest news, the poll of 2,343 Canadians revealed that “Support for mandatory jail terms for robbery with a firearm was as high as 82%, compared with 14% who opposed the prospect”.

Similarly, an Ipsos Reid CanWest Global poll conducted December 30, 2005, to January 2, 2006, of 8,336 Canadian voters found that 73% of the respondents supported changing the current laws so that being convicted of committing a gun crime would carry a mandatory 10-year prison sentence with no eligibility for parole or early release.

Clearly, there is broad political and public support for tougher measures to deal with firearm crimes. We urge Parliament to move swiftly to address the areas of consensus as quickly as possible. The CPA supports in principle the measures contained within Bill C-10 with necessary modifications.

On amendments, although the CPA supports the vast majority of proposals contained within Bill C-10, we do have one significant area of concern. It relates to the proposal dealing with the use of firearms in the commission of attempted murder, discharging a firearm with intent, sexual assault with a weapon, aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, hostage-taking, robbery, and extortion.

Bill C-10 contemplates a tiered response. Offenders who commit these crimes, whether with a restricted or a prohibited firearm or any firearm in connection with a criminal organization, are subject to escalating penalties—five years for a first offence, seven years for a second offence, and ten years for a third or subsequent offence. Conversely, if the firearm is not used in connection with a criminal organization and the weapon is not restricted or prohibited, the mandatory minimum sentence is only four years, regardless of whether it is a second, third, or subsequent offence.

We find the different treatment for long guns to be misguided, and we are at a loss to understand the rationale for distinguishing the penalty on the basis of the class of firearm that is issued by a person in the commission of a very serious crime. Police officers routinely discover these weapons in firearms seizures, clandestine drug labs, and marijuana grow-ops. Will shotguns and rifles become the weapons of choice for repeat violent offenders? In many situations, a rifle or shotgun is a far more lethal threat in the hands of a criminal than a handgun.

For example, high-powered rifles are capable of shooting through body armour and other protective equipment. Shotguns can be extremely powerful weapons when used at short range. A tragic example is the murder of Constable Valerie Gignac of Laval last fall, who was shot through a wall with a high-powered rifle. Of the 13 police officers killed with firearms in the past decade, only three were murdered with handguns; 77% were murdered with long guns, and it's unlikely that any of the offenders in these cases would have met the threshold for participation or membership in a criminal organization.

This latter threshold of connection with a criminal organization also presents an additional hurdle for prosecutors to prove in order to obtain the higher mandatory penalty. While we applaud measures to deal proactively with criminal organizations, we contend that any person who uses any firearm in the commission of an offence should receive the full mandatory minimum penalty available, and particularly repeat offenders.

The recent tragedy at Dawson College in Montreal has reinforced the need to strengthen Canada's control over civilian firearms possession. To our knowledge, no new firearms have been added to the restricted or prohibited categories in Canada for over a decade, yet many new firearms have been designed that are being offered for sale in Canada and would arguably meet existing criteria. As a consequence, some weapons are being legally sold in Canada despite the fact that they meet existing criteria for restricted or prohibited status and present significant concerns for public safety.

Retailers understand and exploit these loopholes, as demonstrated by the website for Wolverine Supplies in Manitoba. You'll find that in our brief. We submit that further steps must be taken to close the loopholes by updating and maintaining the restricted and prohibited firearms classifications.

In conclusion, I'll say that one of the concerns of police officers across the country is to stop the violence. The solution to this begins with bringing an end to Canada's revolving door justice system. Canada's police officers have lost confidence in a system that sees violent offenders regularly return to the streets. We need to restore meaningful consequences and deterrence in our justice system, which begins with stiffer sentences, real jail time and tougher parole eligibility policies for violent offenders. We need stiffer minimum sentences for offenders who commit crimes with guns, or any type of weapon.

Bill C-10 provides a positive component in an integrated strategy to address current shortfalls, specifically pertaining to the concern with gun violence. We believe that it can provide an effective deterrent against violent gun crimes, and we fully endorse the principle of creating tougher mandatory minimum penalties for the commission of serious offences involving the use of a firearm.

We thank you for your attention and we welcome your questions.

Thank you.

November 23rd, 2006 / 11:40 a.m.
See context

Attorney General, Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General

The Hon. Michael Bryant

We proposed these new offences and they received the support of former Justice Minister Cotler and Prime Minister Martin, and they were embodied in Bill C-82 and they're embodied in this bill. The reason why we brought them forward, as you probably have heard, is that there's a mix of sources for the illegal gun trade. It's smuggling, it's breaking and entering, stealing, robbery of domestic guns. Often, the illegal guns begin as legal guns in somebody's home and then they're stolen.

What precisely the statistics are...at one point the Coalition for Gun Control had the numbers out at about 50-50. In any event, whether it's 50-50 or 60-40, the point is that we must choke off the supply of illegal guns into the gun trade. One way of doing that is at the border. Another way of doing that is to ensure that there are sentences in the Criminal Code to match a pattern of behaviour that is increasingly taking place. In Ontario, increasingly our prosecutors were facing facts and evidence that suggested an increasing number of people were having guns enter into the illegal gun trade by way of breaking and enter for the purpose of stealing firearms and by way of robbery involving a firearm.

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

November 25th, 2005 / 12:05 p.m.
See context

Mount Royal
Québec

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-82, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (firearms).

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)