Safe Streets and Communities Act
An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts
Rob Nicholson Conservative
This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.
- March 12, 2012 Passed That the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-10, An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts, be now read a second time and concurred in.
- March 12, 2012 Failed That the motion be amended by deleting all of the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “a message be sent to the Senate to acquaint their Honours that the House disagrees with the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-10, An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts, because relying on the government to list states which support or engage in terrorism risks unnecessarily politicizing the process of obtaining justice for victims of terrorism.”.
- March 7, 2012 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-10, An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the stage of consideration of Senate amendments to the Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Business on the day allotted to the consideration of the said stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.
- Dec. 5, 2011 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
- Nov. 30, 2011 Passed That Bill C-10, An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts, as amended, be concurred in at report stage.
- Nov. 30, 2011 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 183.
- Nov. 30, 2011 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 136.
- Nov. 30, 2011 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 108.
- Nov. 30, 2011 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 54.
- Nov. 30, 2011 Failed That Bill C-10, in Clause 42, be amended by replacing lines 3 to 8 on page 26 with the following: “( a) the offender, before entering a plea, was notified of the possible imposition of a minimum punishment for the offence in question and of the Attorney General's intention to prove any factors in relation to the offence that would lead to the imposition of a minimum punishment; and ( b) there are no exceptional circumstances related to the offender or the offence in question that justify imposing a shorter term of imprisonment than the mandatory minimum established for that offence.”
- Nov. 30, 2011 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 39.
- Nov. 30, 2011 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting Clause 34.
- Nov. 30, 2011 Failed That Bill C-10, in Clause 2, be amended by adding after line 6 on page 5 the following: “(6) In any action under subsection (1), the defendant’s conduct is deemed to have caused or contributed to the loss of or damage to the plaintiff if the court finds that ( a) a listed entity caused or contributed to the loss or damage by engaging in conduct that is contrary to any provision of Part II.1 of the Criminal Code, whether the conduct occurred in or outside Canada; and ( b) the defendant engaged in conduct that is contrary to any of sections 83.02 to 83.04, 83.08, 83.1, 83.11, or 83.18 to 83.231 of the Criminal Code for the benefit of or otherwise in relation to that listed entity.”
- Nov. 30, 2011 Failed That Bill C-10, in Clause 2, be amended by adding after line 10 on page 3 the following: ““terrorism” includes torture. “torture” has the meaning given to that term in article 1, paragraph 1 of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.”
- Nov. 30, 2011 Failed That Bill C-10 be amended by deleting clause 1.
- Nov. 30, 2011 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-10, An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at report stage of the Bill and one sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill; and That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at report stage and on the day allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the Bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
- Sept. 28, 2011 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
- Sept. 28, 2011 Failed That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “this House decline to give second reading to Bill C-10, An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts, because its provisions ignore the best evidence with respect to public safety, crime prevention and rehabilitation of offenders; because its cost to the federal treasury and the cost to be downloaded onto the provinces for corrections have not been clearly articulated to this House; and because the bundling of these many pieces of legislation into a single bill will compromise Parliament’s ability to review and scrutinize its contents and implications on behalf of Canadians”.
- Sept. 27, 2011 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-10, An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts, not more than two further sitting days shall be allotted to the consideration of the second reading stage of the Bill; and that, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the second day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.
March 20th, 2013 / 3:40 p.m.
Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC
Basically, their budget is going down and they're saying the number of files they have to address are going up steadily with all the new infractions. They even mention it in their 2012-13 report. They reference Bill C-10 which they will have to deal with, which will come into full force, or is already in full force.
I think we'll see you coming back often for supplementary budgets. I'm wondering if it's a good way to budget, by presenting something and then coming back constantly to get a hike, because these guys will need to be able to perform if you want to complete your agenda.
Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act
March 19th, 2013 / 10:55 a.m.
Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC
Mr. Speaker, I rose in the House yesterday to address the question of privilege raised by my colleague from Winnipeg Centre.
I cannot speak for everyone, but I think something is clear. We have recently heard a lot about Bill C-30 and other bills, including certain aspects of Bill C-10. Time will tell if I am right or not. Some legislation that is before the courts has already been overturned. This legislation did not all originate with the current government. I am laying it on thick. I am even laying it on the heads of our Liberal friends.
Even the member for Mount Royal said that, when he became Minister of Justice, he had some concerns about how this test was conducted.
Certainly, my trust level is at about 1%. Every time I read a bill now, I do not just read the content to find out if it will fulfill its purpose. Now, I am practically obliged to put on my hat as a lawyer specializing in constitutional law and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In fact, I must do the work that I did not think I had to do, because I had the minister's assurance. When a bill is introduced in the House, if it is not flagged as problematic, we assume it is okay. We can no longer make that assumption. Something has tarnished this assumption, and what we are going through with Bill C-30 proves it every day. This should worry all members of the House, in all parties.
March 18th, 2013 / 4:35 p.m.
Dan Albas Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I want to thank my colleague, Mr. Gill, for coming in today.
I've been hearing quite a number of concerns from the opposition benches today.
One of the things is mandatory minimum sentencing. Mandatory minimum sentences have a long tradition in Canada. Since the turn of the 20th century we've had them. Usually it's in cases where there are particular crimes that the public at large finds both offensive and heinous. So for members to bring forward legitimate concerns and say that the other argument given on another bill...it doesn't apply in this case. We are finding that this particular aspect of the gang problem, where someone is recruiting youth and entering them into a life of crime, is particularly offensive to my constituents. For us to say that this is a heinous crime that needs to be stopped, we do need to put some mandatory minimum sentences to communicate that.
The previous bill did not even add clarity to the existing Criminal Code. This bill would. It would send a very broad message that gangs are a problem in our Canadian cities and we need to have a full range of tools available to law enforcement, particularly a mandatory minimum sentence.
Our government's support for this bill is consistent with a long-standing commitment to improving existing responses to crime, including organized crime, as reflected in many of our election platform commitments and speeches from the throne. For example, you have, from 2008, Bill C-2, which created mandatory minimum penalties for serious gun crimes involving organized crime; Bill C-14 in 2009, which deems murder committed on behalf of criminal organizations to be automatically first degree murder, and creates a new offence targeting drive-by shootings; the enactment of a serious offence regulation in 2010 for the purposes of organized crime provisions in the Criminal Code; and most recently, Bill C-10, the Safe Streets and Communities Act, which proposes mandatory minimum penalties for drug crimes committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with, a criminal organization.
Mr. Gill, your bill proposes to create a new indictable Criminal Code offence that would prohibit the recruitment, the solicitation, the encouragement, or the invitation of another person to join a criminal organization for the purpose of enhancing the ability of that criminal organization to facilitate or commit indictable offences.
I'll stop there, Mr. Chair, because that clarifies that this particular aspect of organized crime is unacceptable in our society. That's why this adds clarity, in my view, to the Criminal Code, specifically because it highlights this heinous activity. There are many activities that may go on in organized crime. I appreciate Mr. Mai's wording of his concerns, but by the same token, this is one of the parts where we have to say that no more is acceptable.
Anyway, though many in the opposition say that mandatory minimum penalties are ineffective, this offence would be punishable by a maximum of five years' imprisonment, with a mandatory minimum penalty of imprisonment of six months if the individual who's recruited is under the age of 18.
Mr. Gill, getting back to your testimony, how do you think this mandatory minimum penalty would help get these gangs that prey on the most vulnerable in our society? What kind of message would that send to the broader criminal element? Again, as you said, Toronto City Council has said this is a recurring problem. They support your bill.
How will a mandatory minimum sentence send a signal to those who would perpetrate these crimes?
Motions in Amendment
Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Tse Act
March 18th, 2013 / 12:50 p.m.
Raymond Côté Beauport—Limoilou, QC
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to address Bill C-55.
I did not work directly on this bill as a member of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights because I unfortunately left that committee, although I fortunately have the great privilege of sitting on the Standing Committee on Finance. However, I have excellent memories of my time on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, despite the problems the members the New Democratic Party are facing on that committee.
In reference to the question I put to my colleague who previously spoke with regard to the rule of law and basic protections, we have moved a motion in the context of Bill C-55. That is why the member for Mount Royal spoke on the subject. He shared the same concerns when he was Minister of Justice. This is an excellent example of the reconciliation of imperatives. We can reconcile certain imperatives even though we belong to different parties. I remember some good exchanges I had with the member for Mount Royal over the fact that he approved of a number of measures we had taken.
Like all of my NDP colleagues, I support Bill C-55. However, I am going to be quite harsh. Objectively, Bill C-55 was a pleasant surprise. I think the government was compelled to respond to the Supreme Court’s decision. Yet, even today, as reported in the Globe and Mail, the justice minister continues to reiterate his full support for Bill C-10, the omnibus bill that unfortunately was passed and will create many problems.
Portions of certain sections of the Criminal Code and other acts that were amended by Bill C-10 could eventually be invalidated. Moreover, this bill has created an excessive amount of work for Parliament. This situation could have been avoided if the government had been open and much more rigorous that it generally is. I would remind the House that Bill C-55 is the exception.
Of course, reinventing the wheel or showing too much originality was not possible, because the decision was very clear and compelled the government to find solutions that meshed perfectly with the Supreme Court’s observations.
This brings us back to our duty as elected representatives and as members of these important and fundamental committees known as the standing committees of the House of Commons.
We have a responsibility to stay informed and adapt to today’s realities on an ongoing basis, all the while complying with immutable principles. We have a responsibility when it comes to passing legislation.
In this regard, I hope that Bill C-55 will serve as a model for the government and will prompt it to be more disciplined and especially to show more respect for all of our country’s institutions. The government must start by showing respect for the Canadian justice system, for Canada’s Parliament, a fundamental institution, and more especially for the House of Commons.
Understandably, there can be differences of opinion, and the government may not always agree with the views expressed by members of the opposition parties. However, the government has a responsibility to respect these views and the fact that people have different opinions. It also has a duty to respect the principle of accountability, which unfortunately is too easily flouted.
In the case of the committee that I had the privilege to serve on last fall, too often the government denied the obvious and rejected the opinions of experts whose positions were quite clear. It is truly a shame. After all, while it may be possible to some extent to defend ideological stances, these have absolutely no place when it comes to governing and establishing conditions for a just and fair society.
The government has made that mistake over and over again.
I repeat, Bill C-55 is a pleasant surprise. In the wake of what my hon. colleague from Gatineau said, I will come back to some important points related to section 184.4. They may seem like minor details, but these changes are important. They do not affect the essence of section 184.4.
The bill defines the term “police officer”, which applies to section 184.4. The bill then continues:
A police officer may intercept, by means of any electro-magnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other device, a private communication if the police officer has reasonable grounds to believe that (a) the urgency of the situation is such that an authorization could not, with reasonable diligence, be obtained under any other provision of this Part; (b) the interception is immediately necessary to prevent an offence that would cause serious harm to any person or to property; and (c) either the originator of the private communication or the person intended by the originator to receive it is the person who would commit the offence that is likely to cause the harm or is the victim, or intended victim, of the harm.
My colleague from Gatineau accurately explained the special nature of section 184.4. Let us not forget that sections 186 and 188 cover virtually every case that would justify a warrant to breach a person's privacy. There are, of course, cases in which the imminence or urgency of the situation, when it is a matter of minutes or hours, would permit someone in authority under the Criminal Code to act quickly without permission to provide genuine assistance and intervene to prevent mischief or a crime.
This is perfectly reasonable. The only problem is with the consequences of such an action. The amendments made to the various parts of section 195 are particularly important. We strongly support them simply because they provide a form of transparency and openness that allows for self-discipline and generally avoids any abuse of police power. First of all, no one wants abuse of this kind from the police. Police officers who possess this extraordinary power ought not to be exposed to situations of potential abuse by themselves or others against anyone here in Canada because it could lead to serious breaches and the public's loss of confidence in police departments.
We believe that section 195 is a step in the right direction in terms of accountability, and that it would set out clear guidelines for the application of section 184.4. In my view, this constitutes significant progress. It is a fundamental and necessary improvement. It would deal with the problems inherent in R. v. Tse that were before the Supreme Court.
I would like to end by saying that it was a pleasure to be able to comment on Bill C-55. I think, and especially I hope, that it will be passed relatively quickly. It is nevertheless deplorable that the government took so long to allow us to review it in this House.
Nuclear Terrorism Act
March 7th, 2013 / 1:20 p.m.
Jack Harris St. John's East, NL
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak to Bill S-9, now before the House. It is called an act to amend the Criminal Code, but it is very directly related to the short title, which is nuclear terrorism act. It is an important piece of legislation on which my colleague, and dare I say friend, from Mount Royal, has said there is a consensus and probably has been a consensus for six or seven years in this country.
Therefore, it is quite a surprise that it has not been brought forward. As he pointed out, there are many instances where there can be a consensus on matters that could come before the House and be dealt with expeditiously, and some are, but there ought to be more of that. If we are going to be combative about certain things, I think that is the nature of politics. However, where there is a consensus, there can be a great deal more co-operation.
An ironic example of that was last year when the justice bill, Bill C-10, was before the House. It went to committee. The member for Mount Royal moved six or seven amendments at committee. They were defeated at committee. The government had to bring them into the House, but they were ruled out of order because they could have been done at committee. The Conservatives had to use the other place to deal with the passage of those amendments. It was quite embarrassing, I should think, that they showed their nature in terms of dealing with legislation and dealing with the opposition. However, that is one example of many.
Mr. Speaker, I was supposed to say at the beginning of my speech that I am sharing my time with the hon. member for Beaches—East York.
The substance of the bill is something that we support. The bill has a number of objectives. It amends the Criminal Code in adding four new offences.The bill was introduced in the Senate a year ago. It could have been brought here earlier than this, but, once again, that is a sign of not moving as quickly as one would have thought on something as important as this.
The bill adds four new offences to the Criminal Code, having to do with possession, use or disposing of nuclear radioactive material with the intention to cause death, serious bodily harm or substantial damage to property or the environment. That is an act against a nuclear facility or any of its operations. One has to do with using or altering a radioactive material or a nuclear or radioactive device with the intent to compel a person or government organization to do or refrain from doing any act being guilty of an indictable offence. That is a classic example of terrorism. Then, there's committing an indictable offence under a federal law for the purpose of obtaining nuclear radioactive material or a radioactive device or to control a facility, or to threaten to commit any of those other three offences.
These are significant crimes and would be given significant penalties in the Criminal Code as a result of the bill. It would be life imprisonment for the first three, as a maximum penalty, and 14 years as a maximum penalty for the threat to do any of these three things.
It is an important part of following through on two conventions that were agreed upon internationally: the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. Both of these conventions were an important part of a regime to attempt to control nuclear materials throughout the world.
As we were debating the bill this morning, I recalled growing up in an era where there was a real threat of nuclear war and nuclear annihilation. I grew up in the fifties and sixties, and in 1962 we all know there was a Cuban missile crisis.
I distinctly remember hearing air raid sirens being tested occasionally to remind us what they sounded like, and we had instructions. Some people were building fallout shelters in their back gardens in the event of a nuclear war. That was the reality. In schools, children were being told that if they heard the air raid sirens, they should get under their desks or under the stairs in their homes, and so forth. That was the way we thought about the world when we were children.
Happily, that is not something that children think about today, or have to think about, because the world is not in a state in which that is a likelihood or even a remote possibility at this point.
However, we do see proliferation. States such as Pakistan and India, with certain historic difficulties and disagreements that have not been resolved, are becoming nuclear powers. North Korea is attempting to engage in the development of nuclear weapons, as is Iran, as the member from Mount Royal has pointed out. Therefore, there are significant threats.
It is important to note that among the signatories to this convention are some important players, including the United States of America, China, India, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. Obviously we would like to see more. However, it is a framework that can be used to control international terrorism or attempts to use these materials for nefarious purposes.
More can and should be done. The area of prevention is extremely important. Canada and the countries who are signatories can play a role in assisting countries to ensure the protection of nuclear materials, because there are countries that do not necessarily have the technical ability to control those activities within their own borders.
Importantly, the 2005 amendments to the treaties made to deal with interstate transport and usage of these materials extended the scope to also cover domestic use, storage and transport and nuclear facilities used for peaceful purposes.
Historically, Canada ratified one of these conventions in 1980. Canada only signed the agreement, which does not make us a party until it has actually been ratified. This step is one of ratification of both these treaties.
What is also interesting as well is that this piece of legislation is called Bill S-9 for a reason. It was started in what we are required to call “the other place”. I think we are allowed to say “senators” and we are allowed to talk about people by name over there, but what are we doing? Are we now the chamber of sober second thought? Have we reversed the constitutional roles? Do we have legislation coming out of the Senate? Is that where we start?
The Senate has looked at this legislation and has fixed it by adding one of the measures that was in the convention but not in the bill. I am sure it could have been fixed here easily before it was sent over there, but the government wants to legitimize the other place somehow, and even though senators are unelected, unaccountable and unapologetic, as we have found out in the last long while, the government seems to rely on the Senate as some sort of an institution where it can start legislation and have it come over here. Are we here to ratify what the Senate has done? Is that the expectation?
I think we support the bill, but it should have been brought here five or six years ago, when the government came into power.
Nuclear Terrorism Act
March 7th, 2013 / 12:50 p.m.
Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill S-9, the nuclear terrorism act, which would amend the Criminal Code to implement Canada's obligations pursuant to the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, which I will refer to as the “suppression convention”, and the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which I will refer to as the “amendment”.
The suppression convention is a multilateral treaty, as has been described. It is intended to harmonize the criminalization of acts related to nuclear terrorism across all state parties. Regrettably, Canada has still not ratified this convention, though we originally signed it in 2005. I appreciate that we are finally getting to the point where we can now move to ratify it, but I regret the delay in this regard.
The Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, which Canada signed in 1980, established legally binding undertakings on state parties in the area of the physical protection of nuclear material and also established measures relating to the prevention, detection and punishment of related criminal offences.
In 2005, Canada, along with 87 other state parties to the original convention, convened to amend and strengthen its provisions. At this conference, the amendment was adopted by consensus, and it will soon begin to enter into force, though it is yet to be ratified by a sufficient number of signatories, including Canada. We need to move forward in that regard.
Both the suppression convention and the amendment are fundamental components of the international community's approach to the prevention and detection of acts related to nuclear terrorism. Consequently, Bill S-9 would constitute necessary implementing legislation for the suppression convention and the amendment, thereby strengthening this international regime. The bill has been thoroughly debated in the House, studied extensively at committee and thoroughly debated in the other chamber. It represents a positive step forward in this regard.
Moreover, the safeguarding of nuclear material and facilities exists within the domestic implementing legislation, and it must never be forgotten that it exists within the context of the overall threat of expanding nuclear proliferation, as represented by the proliferation activities with respect to Iran and North Korea, and the ultimate imperative, therefore, of achieving nuclear disarmament, for which Canada must be at the forefront.
Because members in this place are by now quite familiar with this bill, and reference was made to it by the parliamentary secretary, as well, in his remarks, I will briefly describe its contents and significance.
Indeed, the prevention of nuclear terrorism and nuclear proliferation will require an internationally coordinated response. Canada must continue to take a leadership role in this regard.
Following preliminary discussion of the contents of the bill, I will then address what has just been raised in this House as the particular issue posed by the proliferation threat of Iran, which also has to been seen in the context of its overall, four-fold threat. It was the subject of an exchange between a previous speaker and the parliamentary secretary. I will address that issue, as well.
Let me very quickly move us to the contents of the bill.
First, Bill S-9 would make it an indictable offence to make a device or to possess, use, transfer, export, import, alter or dispose of nuclear material or device with the intent to cause death, serious bodily harm or substantial damage to property or the environment. It would also criminalize the commission of an act against a nuclear facility or an act that causes serious interference or disruption of a nuclear facility's operation.
Second, Bill S-9 would make it an indictable offence to do any of these acts with the intent to compel a person, government or international organization to do or refrain from doing something.
Third, Bill S-9 would make it a separate indictable offence to commit any indictable offence with the intent to obtain nuclear or radioactive material or to obtain access to a nuclear facility.
All three of the offences are punishable by a maximum of life in prison.
Fourth, Bill S-9 would make it an indictable offence to threaten to commit any of the aforementioned offences, which is punishable by a maximum of 14 years in prison.
Moreover, the bill would classify these new offences as terrorist activities, pursuant to section 83.01 of the Criminal Code, such that the commission of these offences would trigger other provisions of the Criminal Code relating, for example, to electronic surveillance and DNA collection.
It will also implement extraterritorial jurisdiction in relation to these new offences, such that Canadian courts will have jurisdiction over individuals prosecuted for the violation of these offences, even where the particular offence did not occur within Canadian territory. These are relevant steps, as they represent an internationally coordinated approach to the problem of nuclear terrorism.
Indeed, based on the debate that has occurred already, both in this House and in the other chamber, the bill appears to enjoy widespread support in both chambers.
The members in this place all recognize the importance of criminal law enforcement and the international harmonization of the criminalization of acts related to nuclear terrorism. It is precisely for this reason that the absence of any action on this matter for the last eight years, since the conventions were signed in 2005, is particularly regrettable.
In February, just one month ago, my colleague from St. Paul's had the opportunity to ask the Minister of Justice about the reasons for this delay when he testified at the justice and human rights committee. Indeed, the minister's explanation warrants referencing here. It is a lesson about the government's generally inverted approach to the setting of legislative priorities.
My colleague from St. Paul's asked the minister a very direct question to this effect: Since everybody seems to be in favour of this legislation, why did it take so long for the government to introduce the necessary domestic implementing legislation that is now finally being done eight years later?
Indeed, the minister answered that he was dissuaded from pursuing the bill because of what he described as the threat of filibuster in this House in matters relating to the criminal justice agenda. In particular, characterizing the debate on these bills as being a filibuster by the opposition, the minister stated at the justice committee:
...it was very difficult...to try to get any legislation through in the criminal justice area. ...dozens of bills...introduced into the House...opposed by one of the three parties, there was a desire many times by the opposition parties to talk about them incessantly, to go on and on....
The minister's explanation is itself objectionable insofar as it appears to imply that there is something wrong with the opposition parties seeking to address legislation before them, particularly important legislation in the matter of the criminal justice agenda, and particularly when that agenda of more crime and punishment emerges as a priority in the government's legislative agenda as a whole.
It is both wrong and, indeed in this instance, diversionary to equate thorough discussion and debate on the government's criminal law agenda to filibustering and use that as a reason that he did not introduce domestic implementing legislation regarding Bill S-9. I submit that, on both of these counts, the government has it upside down, as I said.
Number one, in the matter of the government's legislative agenda, members of this House have a responsibility to address this legislation, to vet this legislation. It is part of our responsibility of public oversight, as we sought to do whether it was to get costs of Bill C-10 or address an omnibus bill. In fact we could not even filibuster, because in most of these pieces of legislation, we had time allocation introduced in any case.
Leaving that aside, what relationship does the debate on the government's crime and punishment agenda have to do with a delay of eight years before we move to introduce domestic implementing legislation? I suggest that this cannot and should not have accounted for the delay in the introduction of this legislation.
Moving on to the issue of the nuclear threat and now moving to the question of the Iranian situation, which I said I would take up and is a part of the questions and answers, let me just say what we find with regard to what we are witnessing in Khamenei's Iran today—and I use that term because I want to distinguish it from the people and public of Iran, who are otherwise the object of massive domestic repression.
What we are finding in Khamenei's, Iran is really a fourfold threat, but a fourfold threat that is interrelated.
There is the nuclear threat; there is the genocidal incitement threat; there is the international terrorism threat, where the Iranian footprints are replete and evidence has come forward with respect to some 22 terrorist attacks in 2012 alone, spanning five continents with the Iranian Hezbollah connection in that regard; and finally, there is the massive domestic repression, which frankly will be leveraged if Iran should become a nuclear power. There is an interrelationship with all of these matters, because should Iran become a nuclear power, this will enhance the international terrorist threat. It will also leverage its domestic repression activity, let alone the problem of the incitement threat that underpins nuclear proliferation as a whole.
Let me move to the particular role Canada could play with regard to the Iranian fourfold threat. I am speaking about the P5-plus-1 negotiations that have just concluded in Almaty but will be re-engaged again. I want to commend the government's position in this regard, as stated most recently by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
I want to put forth in particular a number of requirements that should underpin the negotiating position of the P5-plus-1 and, because of our chairperson role at the International Atomic Energy Agency as well as our linkage in that regard to the P5-plus-1 negotiations, how we can help frame the negotiations and combat what our own Minister of Foreign Affairs has referred to as the Iranian position of deception, denial and delay and using negotiations as a basis for delay and the period in between the negotiations not only as a pretext for delaying what has to be done, but where the acceleration of the nuclear weaponization program actually takes place in the context of the delay between negotiations, sometimes within the negotiation period itself.
Since I last spoke to Bill S-9 in the House, there has been, as the International Atomic Energy Agency reported, an acceleration of the nuclear capabilities in the Iran program in the installation of advanced centrifuges. All of this has been set out in the IAEA report, so I will not go further in that regard, but will only say that the intensification of the nuclear capability with respect to Iran is bringing us closer to Iran's becoming a nuclear power, with less capacity on our part to not only prevent it but even to detect it happening.
Let me close by making reference to what particular approach we should have to the P5-plus-1 negotiations.
First, Iran must, as a threshold requirement, verifiably suspend its uranium enrichment program, therefore allowing the international community to combat the three Ds of delay, denial and deception, which as I said, Iran has used to accelerate its nuclear weaponization program rather than, in fact, move toward disarmament.
Second, Iran must ship its supply of enriched uranium, and there is more enriched uranium at a higher level, out of the country, where it can be reprocessed and then made available to Iran under appropriate inspection and monitoring for use in civil nuclear programs. We have no objection to the Iranian civil nuclear program. Iran has the right like any other state with respect to civil nuclear program, medical isotopes use of uranium and the like. The objection we have here is to the weaponization program.
Third, Iran must therefore verifiably close and dismantle its nuclear enrichment plant at Fordow, embedded in a mountain near Qom, which Iranians initially denied even existed but where a zone of impenetrability will soon develop unless that facility is in fact dismantled. Iran has delayed any inspection of those facilities, let alone its dismantling as a whole.
Fourth, Iran must suspend its heavy water production facilities at Arak, because it is sometimes forgotten that an essential component for producing plutonium involved in nuclear programs could also be water, which is a nuclear component that North Korea uses for its own nuclear weapons. Simply put, the path to nuclear weaponization need not be travelled by uranium enrichment alone. The suspension of uranium enrichment, however necessary, will not alone ensure that Iran is verifiably abandoning its nuclear weaponization program.
Fifth, Iran must allow, as it is not, International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors immediate and unfettered access to any suspected nuclear site, as is required, as Iran is a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Iran is thereby bound by its obligations not only not to pursue nuclear weapons but also to open its nuclear sites and installations.
Sixth, Iranian authorities need to grant the IAEA access to the parts and military complex near Tehran, where it has been reported that Iran has conducted high explosives testing, and I am referring to the Parchin complex, possibly in conjunction with the development of a nuclear weapon.
Finally, Iran needs to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency—and again I mention Canada's particular role with respect to IAEA, our chairmanship now—to install devices on centrifuges to monitor Iran’s uranium enrichment levels.
These are the kinds of threshold approaches that Canada can assist in framing and thereby assist in combating proliferation and help to underpin the P5-plus-1 negotiations, which are about to be re-engaged next month.
I also want to mention the question of the incitement threat, because the state-sanctioned incitement to genocide is inextricably bound up with the nuclear proliferation program. In fact, an all-party committee of the foreign affairs committee in the House determined already in 2010, and I am really citing from that committee's report, that Iran has already committed the crime of incitement to genocide prohibited under the genocide convention. That all-party committee thereby recommended that state parties to the genocide convention have an obligation—not a policy option, but an obligation—to undertake the mandated legal remedies under the genocide convention to bring Iran to account.
Regrettably, as I speak in the chamber, not one state party to the genocide convention—not our country, not the United States, not any of the European countries—has undertaken any of these mandated legal remedies, which I will briefly summarize in my final remarks. Again, I remind everyone that this comes out of an all-party report.
First, Canada could be among the countries that could seek to simply refer the matter of this state-sanctioned incitement to genocide, the standing prohibition of the genocide convention I mentioned, to the UN Security Council for deliberation and accountability. It is a modest initiative. Certainly we should be able to do that.
Second, Canada could initiate tomorrow an interstate complaint before the International Court of Justice against Iran, which is also a state party to the genocide convention, for its violations of its own undertakings.
Third, Canada could ask the UN Security Council to refer the matter of the state-sanctioned incitement to genocide to the International Criminal Court for prospective investigation and prosecution of Iranian leaders engaged in the violation of this treaty.
Finally, I want to mention the human rights situation. We need to sanction the Iranian leaders not only with respect to the nuclear weaponization program, but we need to sanction Iranian leaders engaged in the massive domestic repression and hold them to account, as well as holding to account those involved in the proliferation of international terrorism.
These four threats, the nuclear threat, the genocidal incitement threat, the human rights violations and the international terrorism threat, are all finding expression in Khamenei's Iran. We need a comprehensive approach to the fourfold threat. The government has identified that fourfold threat. In fact, it referenced the fourfold threat as the basis for closing the Iranian embassy here and ours in Iran. I would like to suggest that the government undertake these particular juridical remedies in the implementation of our international responsibilities.
Alleged Non-Compliance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by the Department of Justice
March 6th, 2013 / 5:35 p.m.
Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC
Mr. Speaker, I completely support what we have just heard from the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre. What we have been forced to see is bill after bill, and those of us who have practised at all in the law who are watching recent court proceedings have a grand sense of misgiving that the legislation that has come before us has not been adequately scrutinized.
I am not going to put myself in a position that the hon. government House leader wants us to of making any personal aspersions toward any individual. However, I actually attempted to raise this as a point of order. I certainly appreciate that the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre made it a question of personal privilege. I also feel that my personal privileges have been violated by having legislation brought to this place that clearly has not taken into account the charter implications.
I raised this on March 7, 2012 on the subject of the omnibus crime bill, so-called Bill C-10, because we just had seen the Ontario Superior Court rule on the matter of R. v. Smikle, and it was quite clear that the legislation before us might be, in fact, non-compliant with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is an offence to all of our roles, individually, severally and as a body, to have legislation brought before us forced through by majority vote, which is a disservice to the people of Canada and a disservice to our traditions of law and respect for the rule of law by having legislation here that has not been thoroughly reviewed to ensure its constitutionality.
I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity to support the question of privilege that has been raised and to subscribe myself to it. My personal privileges have been violated.
Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act
March 1st, 2013 / 12:55 p.m.
Isabelle Morin Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-54, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the National Defence Act (mental disorder).
I will first provide a little background. The bill proposes three major amendments. The proposed amendments are intended to make public safety the priority, to create a finding that a person who is not criminally responsible is a high-risk accused, and to enhance the involvement of victims.
At present, it is often forgotten that section 672.54 of the Criminal Code provides that the court or review boards shall take into consideration “the need to protect the public from dangerous persons, the mental condition of the accused, the reintegration of the accused into society and the other needs of the accused”.
As some of my colleagues have already said, we will support the bill at second reading, so that it can be examined in greater depth in committee. That said, measures already exist for making public safety the priority. That is something we consider to be very important, and we support it. We want to hear what the experts have to tell us about that.
The legislative amendments to the mental disorder regime in the Criminal Code that are proposed in the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act would clearly make public safety the paramount concern in the courts and in the decision-making processes of review boards in relation to persons declared NCR—not criminally responsible—or unfit to stand trial.
I will explain that a little more. At present, at the trial of a person with a mental disorder, there are three possible verdicts: absolute discharge, if the person is not a significant threat to public safety; conditional discharge, and that is what we will be discussing here; and detention in custody in a hospital, which is not changing. So there are really two things. First, a person may be charged. However, if the person has a relatively severe disorder and is unable to stand trial immediately, they will not stand trial right away. The person will therefore have permission not to stand trial. They will be treated and will stand trial later. Here we are talking about someone who could be a threat to public safety. What is done then is that the person is offered treatment. The bill ensures that while receiving treatment, the person will not be dangerous to public safety.
My colleague from Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques told us about a problem: the fact that the timing of the Conservative government’s introduction of the bill seems a little suspicious. That is unfortunate, because it is a very good bill. We will allow the bill to proceed, but we are a little afraid that the Conservatives would like to score political points with this bill. They announced it on the day Quebec learned that Dr. Turcotte might be released. That trial received extensive media coverage. The Conservatives immediately came and told us they would be putting forward a bill to protect the public. So they came in on their big horses with their swords at the ready, to say they were protecting the public. That is something we hear a lot from the Conservative side: that they are the best when it comes to protecting the public. That said, this is actually what the bill does, by strengthening the protection of the public. But one does wonder why the Conservatives introduced it at this time. Why did they make the announcement at a point when the bill was still only at the draft stage or did not even exist yet?
My second concern about the bill is that the Conservatives are attempting to download costs to the provinces. In an interview with Global News, Carole Saindon, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice, said the provinces would have to foot the bill for this new policy. This seems to be increasingly the case with Conservative bills.
The federal government passes laws and downloads the costs of implementing them to the provincial governments. It did so, for example, when it increased the age of eligibility for OAS. It did so again with Bill C-10 on minimum sentences. This bill we have before us, which is a good bill, will also have to be paid for by the provinces. What is more, we do not know if the provinces and territories were consulted. We do not know what will happen if a province does not have the necessary funds to fully implement the bill.
There is an organization in Ontario that deals with mentally ill people who get in trouble with the law. It is currently working at 104% capacity. The bill is a step in the right direction, but we do not know if we will have the means to implement it.
My second point concerns the creation of the high-risk NCR accused designation. This bill would amend the Criminal Code by creating a process to designate accused persons as high-risk NCR. They could be designated NCR because of serious personal injury offences committed against other persons and because there is a substantial likelihood of further violence that would endanger the public. The designation might also apply in cases in which the acts were of such a brutal nature as to indicate a risk of grave harm to the public. High-risk NCR accused would be ineligible for a conditional or absolute discharge. The designation could only be revoked by the court following a recommendation of the review board. This designation would apply only to NCR accused, not to persons found unfit to stand trial.
Persons found unfit to stand trial are persons who are unable to undergo a trial but who were not unfit at the time of the crime.
The third amendment I discussed earlier concerns enhancing victims' involvement. I would like to emphasize this point. Victims often appear to be forgotten by the Conservative Party. This is what troubles me. The government always tables law and order legislation, but it often forgets the victims. I used to work in a prison. I was a teacher at a detention centre. Social reintegration is key to ensuring that things go well in society. I understand that there must be laws and punishment—no one is opposed to that—but we are lacking a reintegration aspect.
As a number of my colleagues have said, we had trouble obtaining data from the government on this subject. Some members had to place questions on the order paper to get answers. We wanted to get some of the case law and statistics gathered by the government on persons found not criminally responsible. We wanted to know how much time each person found not criminally responsible spent in treatment before being discharged. We wanted to know exactly how many people this legislation would affect.
I think it is appropriate to talk about enhancing victims' involvement. Victims are often disregarded in Conservative legislation. This bill would ensure that victims are notified, upon request, when the accused is discharged. The bill provides for non-communications orders between the accused and the victim. It will also ensure that the safety of victims is considered when decisions are made about an accused person. However, I find this last point somewhat vague. This information does not tell me how that would be done or how victims' safety would be guaranteed.
To sum up, I think this is a bill that will enhance an existing act. I hope the Conservative Party is not playing a game so that it can make a lot of political hay out of this issue.
This is not the point of the exercise. The objective is to come up with a better law that respects human rights.
I hope that we will have the bill before us in committee long enough to study it carefully, that witnesses from all sides of the House will appear and that we will go through the whole process in order to pass this bill.
Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act
March 1st, 2013 / 12:40 p.m.
Guy Caron Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to discuss Bill C-54, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the National Defence Act (mental disorder) at second reading.
I am very pleased to be the first member to speak for the official opposition after our justice critic, who is also the member for Gatineau. She gave an excellent speech. I would like to talk about the aspects that I think are the most important in relation to the position we will be taking as the official opposition. Before going any further, I would like to say that I will be sharing my time with my colleague, the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce-Lachine.
Basically, Bill C-54 presents three major amendments. The first is that the safety of the public will be the paramount consideration in the decision-making process relating to the accused or those found not criminally responsible for an offence. Second, it creates a scheme for finding that certain persons who have been found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder are high-risk accused. Finally, the bill enhances the involvement of victims. The victim will be informed when the person found not criminally responsible for a crime against the victim is released. There may also be a disposition that communications between the not criminally responsible accused and the victim be prohibited. The bill also provides that the victim’s safety must be considered in decisions made with regard to the release of the person found not criminally responsible for a crime.
When we talk about making public safety a priority, we should point out something that is often ignored: the issue of public safety is already taken into account in decisions made either by a judge or by review boards. This includes cases involving mental disorders. This can be found in Criminal Code section 672.54, which provides that the courts or the review boards must consider the need to protect the public from dangerous persons. The mental condition of the accused, the reintegration of the accused into society and the other needs of the accused are also discussed. Therefore, the Criminal Code already has provisions that oblige the court and the review boards to consider the issue of public safety in the decisions they are making.
With regard to findings that certain accused persons are not criminally responsible but that they are high risk, a different category is proposed. Anyone who has been accused and found not criminally responsible may currently receive one of three verdicts from the court.
The first is an absolute discharge. Here again, the Criminal Code clearly states that an absolute discharge is given if the person is not considered to be a threat to public safety. This newly created category does not affect the matter of absolute discharge. There is also the possibility of a conditional discharge that includes a number of conditions. If a person found not criminally responsible is considered high risk, he cannot be given a conditional discharge. The third possibility, which already existed for not criminally responsible people who might be a risk or a threat, is detention in custody in a hospital.
So, ultimately, this new category of not criminally responsible but high-risk accused affects only one of three possible verdicts. Even before, a high-risk person could not get an absolute discharge and could be kept in custody in a hospital. Now, that person will no longer have the possibility of getting a conditional discharge.
The third question is an issue to which we are sensitive, and that is to increase victim participation in the process. Of course, in many cases, the mental disorder review board—I am familiar with the one in Quebec—must really think about the impact on the victim. We are concerned about this issue because there have been a few cases in Quebec, including one in particular to which the hon. member for Gatineau referred, which is that of Dr. Turcotte.
Before discussing this case, I want to mention a concern that we have, not necessarily regarding the bill and its content but, rather, the Conservative government's approach to these issues and, more specifically, this legislation.
There is really a desire to play political games for populist motives. I am concerned about the government's approach to this bill. We have known for a number of months that the government wanted to propose a bill to deal with accused persons found not criminally responsible. We knew that because the government had already announced its intention, last fall if I am not mistaken.
When it was announced that the Quebec mental disorder review board would conditionally discharge Dr. Turcotte, who was being detained at Institut-Philippe-Pinel, it generated debates, particularly in Quebec. Immediately, on the same day, the government held a press conference to announce once again that it would soon introduce this bill, which was still not ready or drafted.
Therefore, I am very concerned about this government's desire to make political hay with very important issues that should be dealt with in a responsible and reasoned fashion, with a cool head and without using very sensitive situations that stir emotions.
I say this as a person, as a parent, as a father of a four-year-old boy and a one-year-old girl who finds the crime committed by Dr. Turcotte extremely disturbing and traumatic. In that regard, I am thinking about my own children.
However, we are here to represent society and our constituencies. Despite the horror of the actions that are sometimes taken and highly publicized, we must deal with these issues in a reasoned way and with a cool head.
We have another problem, which is the issue of political gains. If this bill is passed—and it probably will, given the Conservative majority—the government could go everywhere in Canada, and particularly in Quebec with, among others, a well-known senator who often speaks for the government on these issues. That senator would meet with victims of acts committed by people found not criminally responsible and tell them that he listened to them and solved their problem. That is not really the perspective we should have on this issue. I am asking the government to be very careful in the way it deals with this issue, whether here in the House or in committee.
We do want to work and help victims be more involved in the process. They must see that the system meets their expectations and needs. However, we want to achieve that result in a balanced fashion that also meets the imperatives of our system, which is a system of law and order, a system based on the rule of law.
The hon. member for Gatineau, who is the justice critic for the official opposition, also mentioned the government's usual approach, which is of great concern to us and which we witnessed, particularly with Bill C-10. That was the omnibus crime bill that imposed a number of measures without consultation with the provinces and territories. Moreover, the government did not provide any impact studies on the ramifications of this bill, including the need for statistics.
For example, in this specific case, what are the recidivism rates? What are the numbers for crime and recidivism by accused found not criminally responsible? We do not have answers. The question was put to the Minister of Justice, but we did not get an answer. These are important issues that will have to be dealt with, and we want answers from the government on this sensitive matter.
In conclusion, I also asked the Minister of Justice if the provinces had been consulted to see if they were prepared to bear the costs. Again, I did not get an answer. There was no prior consultation on the issue of minimum sentences in Bill C-10. This bill will generate additional costs, not only for the system, but also for the institutions that must treat these people.
Let us not forget that, in Ontario, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health is currently operating at 104% of its capacity. If Ontario is not able to provide adequate resources, this bill will unfortunately fail to address a significant part of the problem.
I look forward to questions from my colleagues.
Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act
March 1st, 2013 / 12:35 p.m.
Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC
Mr. Speaker, I would agree. The whole approach of this legislation regrettably fits a pattern whereby one addresses the issue through the lens of punishment rather than through the lens of prevention. Since we are dealing, in particular, with the issue of the mentally disordered, this becomes crucial in terms of approaches with regard to prevention.
Again, I regret that when I submitted amendments on Bill C-10 that would have addressed the approach to the mentally ill through treatment rather than incarceration and through prevention rather than punishment, they were rejected by the government, although they were designed for the sole purpose of simply improving that which the government was ostensibly concerned with in Bill C-10, and that was the promotion and protection of public safety.
Through prevention we would, in fact, end up protecting public safety, ensuring that there are fewer victims, better treating offenders with respect to their reintegration into society, and treating those, particularly in the NCR regime, who are not regarded as offenders and have not been deemed criminally responsible with the appropriate approach.