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

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2013.

Sponsor

Rob Nicholson  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

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

Part 1 of this enactment creates, in order to deter terrorism, a cause of action that allows victims of terrorism to sue perpetrators of terrorism and their supporters. It also amends the State Immunity Act to prevent a listed foreign state from claiming immunity from the jurisdiction of Canadian courts in respect of actions that relate to its support of terrorism.

Part 2 amends the Criminal Code to

(a) increase or impose mandatory minimum penalties, and increase maximum penalties, for certain sexual offences with respect to children;

(b) create offences of making sexually explicit material available to a child and of agreeing or arranging to commit a sexual offence against a child;

(c) expand the list of specified conditions that may be added to prohibition and recognizance orders to include prohibitions concerning contact with a person under the age of 16 and use of the Internet or any other digital network;

(d) expand the list of enumerated offences that may give rise to such orders and prohibitions; and

(e) eliminate the reference, in section 742.1, to serious personal injury offences and to restrict the availability of conditional sentences for all offences for which the maximum term of imprisonment is 14 years or life and for specified offences, prosecuted by way of indictment, for which the maximum term of imprisonment is 10 years.

It also amends the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to provide for minimum penalties for serious drug offences, to increase the maximum penalty for cannabis (marijuana) production and to reschedule certain substances from Schedule III to that Act to Schedule I.

Part 3 amends the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to

(a) clarify that the protection of society is the paramount consideration for the Correctional Service of Canada in the corrections process and for the National Parole Board and the provincial parole boards in the determination of all cases;

(b) establish the right of a victim to make a statement at parole hearings and permit the disclosure to a victim of certain information about the offender;

(c) provide for the automatic suspension of the parole or statutory release of offenders who receive a new custodial sentence and require the National Parole Board to review their case within a prescribed period; and

(d) rename the National Parole Board as the Parole Board of Canada.

It also amends the Criminal Records Act to substitute the term “record suspension” for the term “pardon”. It extends the ineligibility periods for applications for a record suspension and makes certain offences ineligible for a record suspension. It also requires the National Parole Board to submit an annual report that includes the number of applications for record suspensions and the number of record suspensions ordered.

Lastly, it amends the International Transfer of Offenders Act to provide that one of the purposes of that Act is to enhance public safety and to modify the list of factors that the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness may consider in deciding whether to consent to the transfer of a Canadian offender.

Part 4 amends the sentencing and general principles of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, as well as its provisions relating to judicial interim release, adult and youth sentences, publication bans, and placement in youth custody facilities. It defines the terms “violent offence” and “serious offence”, amends the definition “serious violent offence” and repeals the definition “presumptive offence”. It also requires police forces to keep records of extrajudicial measures used to deal with young persons.

Part 5 amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to allow officers to refuse to authorize foreign nationals to work in Canada in cases where to give authorization would be contrary to public policy considerations that are specified in instructions given by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

The enactment also makes related and consequential amendments to other Acts.

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.

Votes

  • 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.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

March 9th, 2012 / 12:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege to serve as minister of justice and attorney general of this country. One of my primary responsibilities was to ensure, before I tabled legislation, that such legislation comported with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

As I pointed out in my remarks, there are some six principal constitutionally suspect areas in this legislation. It behooves us, within the responsibility of due diligence that the Minister of Justice has, that he table in the House the advice he received that such legislation is constitutional. I cannot imagine that he would have received advice that these provisions are constitutional. I want to know that they were even discussed to begin with, namely, that due diligence was exercised to ensure compliance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I have my doubts about that.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

March 9th, 2012 / 12:25 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, given the previous experience of the member of Parliament for Mount Royal as a minister of justice, and given that we do not have any tabled documents from the Department of Justice attesting to the fact that this legislation does conform to the requirements of the charter, would the hon. member give us some advice as to what the Minister of Justice should have done and can still do to ensure this legislation meets the requirements of our Constitution?

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

March 9th, 2012 / 12:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the ordinary conduct of business, the Minister of Justice would have had to refer this matter to the constitutional experts within the Department of Justice. He would have asked them whether the suspect provisions that I have mentioned, or any others, comport with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I have full respect for those officials in the Department of Justice. I have my doubts as to whether that question was even put to the officials. If it had been put to them, he would have received the response that those provisions were invalid.

I would ask the minister to refer those matters to his officials and at least suspend the application of Bill C-10 with respect to those provisions that are constitutionally suspect until that advice can be tabled before this Parliament.

If the bill goes ahead, we are going to see a series of constitutional challenges with respect to those constitutionally suspect provisions. This could have been avoided if the Minister of Justice had exercised due diligence. We are going to see additional constitutional challenges at an additional cost to the taxpayer, all undermining the integrity of our process.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

March 9th, 2012 / 12:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for the question. As I said at the beginning of this debate, if the government had introduced nine bills instead of just one, we could have studied each one properly. We could have not only studied each bill better, but also focused on the constitutionality of their provisions, which, in my opinion, are unconstitutional. We could have fulfilled our responsibilities as members of Parliament by studying these nine bills separately instead of what we ended up doing.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

March 9th, 2012 / 12:30 p.m.
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NDP

Mathieu Ravignat Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my esteemed colleague for his very interesting presentation and especially for focusing on the constitutionality of things.

I would like to address another matter. In the first nations communities, people are talking about the criminalization that this bill will mean for young aboriginals. Does the hon. member have any thoughts on that?

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

March 9th, 2012 / 12:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.

There is a particular problem with aboriginal people, especially aboriginal youth. At present, there is an overrepresentation of aboriginals, and especially aboriginal youth, in our prisons. Constitutionality may also be at issue here. In fact, the Supreme Court declared that it would not be possible to apply the principles of the Gladue ruling.

There is another very serious problem, especially with regard to the aboriginal issue. With Bill C-10, the rights of aboriginals would be violated.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

March 9th, 2012 / 12:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to participate in the debate on the Senate's message to this House of Commons on Bill C-10, the safe streets and communities act.

Bill C-10 is a comprehensive crime bill that addresses a number of issues: supporting the victims of terrorism; strengthening sentences for child sexual offences, serious drug offences and violent and serious offences vis-à-vis the use of conditional sentences; enhancing post-sentencing measures to enhance offender accountability and management; strengthening the youth criminal justice system's ability to deal with serious repeat and violent offenders; and enhancing the ability of the immigration system to protect vulnerable foreign workers against abuse and exploitation, including through the use of human trafficking.

While I will focus my remarks on the provisions of Bill C-10 that deal with serious drug offences, I want to clearly state to all members of this House my unequivocal support for Bill C-10 in its entirety and also for the amendments as proposed by our colleagues in the upper chamber, the Senate.

This part of the bill has been before us or before the Senate on several distinct occasions. I would remind all members of the House that the portion of Bill C-10, which proposes various mandatory minimum sentences, falls within the ambit of Canada's national anti-drug strategy. That strategy proposes a two-track approach: one that would be tough on drug crime and the other that would focus on the victims of drug crime.

The national anti-drug strategy includes three action plans: first, preventing illicit drug use; second, treating those with illicit drug dependencies; and finally, combatting the production and distribution of illicit drugs.

The action plan to combat the production and distribution of illicit drugs contains a number of elements, including ensuring that strong and adequate penalties are in place for serious drug crimes. It is within this context that the bill must be viewed if one is to view it fairly.

Moreover, the bill follows through on one of the key elements of the priority of the government to tackle crime, which this government has repeatedly identified as one of its key commitments.

There is wide and vast support for the bill from a great number of ordinary Canadians, Canadians who are concerned about drug abuse, Canadians who are concerned that marijuana grow operations and methamphetamine production and trafficking are out of control, and Canadians who are very concerned that these activities pose a serious threat to their own safety and the safety of the communities in which they live.

The legislation also has the wide support of police officer organizations in Canada, including the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the Canadian Police Association and the Canadian Association of Police Boards.

We have responsibilities as legislators to ensure that our criminal law stays on top of serious developments in our society. Over the last decade, domestic operations related to the production and distribution of marijuana and synthetic drugs have dramatically increased, resulting in very serious problems in several regions of Canada.

I live in and represent Edmonton and Edmonton is certainly one of the regions in Canada that has seen an epidemic growth in organized crime and the violence that is associated with it. In fact, anecdotally, last year there were 44 homicides in Canada and, sadly, Edmonton led Canada in that statistic.

In some cases, these problems have overwhelmed the capacity of law enforcement agencies to deal with these phenomena. These legal operations pose serious health and public safety hazards to those in or around the grow operations. They produce environmental hazards, post-cleanup problems and endanger the lives and health of the communities at large.

Moreover, organized crime groups and criminal gangs are resorting to increased violence to establish their dominance over the drug trade in various metropolitan regions of the country. Sadly, but unavoidably, innocent persons are being hurt.

Now that is not to say that all drug offenders are necessarily dangerous or that all forms of drug trades are violent. Bill C-10 recognizes this and that is why what is being proposed in the bill is a focused and targeted approach, a surgical approach so to speak.

As has been stated before, the new penalties would not apply to possession offences nor will they apply to offences involving certain types of drugs. The bill focuses on the more serious drug offences involving the most serious drugs. Overall, the proposals represent a tailored approach to mandatory minimum penalties for serious drug offences.

I would remind all members of the House how this part of the proposed Bill C-10 would operate. For schedule I drugs, such as heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine, the bill proposes a one year minimum for the majority of the serious drug offences in the presence of certain aggravating factors. Some of those aggravating factors are as follows: the offence is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with organized crime; the offence involved violence or the threat of violence, or weapons or the threat of the use of weapons; or, the offence is committed by someone who was convicted in the previous 10 years of a designated drug offence.

I think we would all agree that in the presence of those aggravating factors a minimum mandatory sentence ought to apply. Moreover, if youth are present or the offence occurs in a prison, the minimum is increased to two years.

In the case of importing, exporting and possession for the purposes of exporting, the minimum penalty will be one year if certain aggravating factors, such as the offence was committed for the purposes of trafficking, and for two years if the offence involves more than one kilogram of a schedule I drug.

A minimum of two years is provided for the production offence involving a schedule I drug. The minimum sentence for the production of a schedule I drug increases to three years where aggravating factors relating to health and safety are present. These factors are the following: the person used real property that belonged to a third party to commit the offence; the production constituted a potential security, health or safety hazard to children who were in the location where the offence was committed or in the immediate area; the production constituted a potential public safety hazard in a residential area; the person placed or set a trap.

We hear all too often of rental properties that are turned into grow operations with significant damage having been done to the real property of the landlords. It is that type of aggravating factor with respect to damage to real property belonging to a third person that this portion of Bill C-10 captures and, I would suggest to members of the House, appropriately so.

For schedule II drugs, such as marijuana, cannabis resin and others, the proposed mandatory minimum penalty for trafficking and possession for the purposes of trafficking is one year where certain aggravating factors such as violence, recidivism or organized crime are present. The minimum penalty is increased to two years if other aggravating factors, such as trafficking to youth, are involved.

In the case of importing, exporting or possession for the purpose of exporting, the minimum penalty is one year imprisonment when certain aggravating factors are present such as the offence was committed for the purpose of trafficking.

A lot has been said in the media and by the opposition about the offence of marijuana production. Some of it has been factual but a lot of it has been misconstrued hyperbole. Therefore, it is important for members to know what is actually in the bill. The bill proposes mandatory penalties based on the number of plants involved: for the production of 6 to 200 plants and if the plants are cultivated for the purposes of trafficking, the minimum mandatory sentence is six months; for the production of between 201 and 500 plants, the minimum mandatory is one year; for the production of more than 500 plants, the mandatory minimum is two years; and for the production of cannabis resin for the purpose of trafficking, the mandatory minimum is one year.

The minimum sentences for the production of schedule II drugs increases by 50% where any of the aggravating factors relating to health and safety, which I just enumerated, such as using the real property of a third person to facilitate the grow op, are present.

I would like to remind members of the House that this part of Bill C-10 is not just about minimum penalties. The maximum penalty for producing marijuana would be doubled from 7 to 14 years' imprisonment. The amphetamine class of drugs, as well as the date rape drugs, GHB and Rohypnol, would be transferred from schedule III to schedule I of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, thereby allowing the courts to impose higher maximum penalties for offences involving those drugs. We know from media reports that the so-called date rape drugs are becoming a scourge and epidemic among young people, often with catastrophic and fatal consequences.

It is important that I remind members of the House that the proposed legislation would allow a trial judge the discretion of imposing a penalty other than the mandatory minimum on an offender who is referred to a drug treatment court where the offender successfully completes the court-ordered program. Moreover, we know that drug treatment courts are not in all centres in Canada and if there is no drug treatment court, the court sentencing the offender can still refer the offender for treatment for his or her drug addiction. Also, if the offender successfully completes the program, the court would not be required to impose the mandatory minimum penalty for the drug offence.

I have had the pleasure to visit the Edmonton drug treatment court on three or four occasions. It does absolutely remarkable work. It attempts to help individuals break the cycle of getting involved in criminal activity to feed their drug addiction. It is a carrot and stick program, in that the person will not be sentenced to prison and could be discharged for the offence if he or she successfully completes a rehabilitation program and complies with all the terms and conditions of release, including abstaining from all drugs and alcohol, and attending Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or whatever program the person is directed to attend.

The drug treatment court has been very successful in helping people break the cycle of committing crimes to feed their addiction and starting all over again. I cannot emphasize enough to members of the House the importance of that piece of the puzzle. The courts would have the ability not to impose a mandatory minimum sentence when the individual successfully completes a program as directed by the drug treatment court.

The proposed reforms in Bill C-10 have been carefully studied in both chambers and committees of both houses. I sit on the justice committee. I sat on the justice committee in the last Parliament. This bill is comprised of nine separate but related pieces of legislation, all of which have been studied significantly not only in this Parliament but in the last Parliament as well. This is the type of legislation Canadians have been demanding. Canadians are demanding safety and security in their homes and communities.

Bill C-10 has been carefully studied in both chambers. Witnesses who have appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs have welcomed these proposals. They have welcomed them because they send drug traffickers and organized crime a clear message that if they commit serious crimes and cause harm to our society, they will be spending time in jail.

There are provisions that deal with serious drug crimes, as well as provisions that deal with amendments to the Youth Criminal Justice Act, ending House arrest for property and other serious crimes and changes to our pardon system. All of these separate but combined pieces of legislation have been demanded not only by police and chiefs of police but also by our constituents, such as the citizens I represent in northwest Edmonton who, sadly, have witnessed a record number of murders, 44 in 2011, and all of the other crimes that are tied into organized crime in the city.

This type of legislation is desperately needed. It was promised and it is being delivered. I encourage all members to vote in favour of Bill C-10, as amended.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

March 9th, 2012 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

Dennis Bevington Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for actually taking the time to go through each one of the statutes in the bill and reminding us again how very horrendous some of these penalties would be for people who may or may not fit within his definition of criminality.

It has been estimated that up to 300,000 Canadians utilize marijuana for medical purposes. The present marijuana licensing procedures have properly licensed perhaps 5,000 Canadians. In Canada many people are using marijuana for medical purposes, but they are not legally licensed to do so. Those people who are using it to take care of their health issues are either accessing it on the open market, growing plants themselves or finding other ways to supply themselves with a product they have identified as useful for their health issues.

Now we have a situation where if people who are taking care of their own health are found in possession of more than five plants, they will be given a mandatory minimum sentence for that. The judge will not have the ability to look at the mitigating circumstances.

Would my colleague explain to me how this would serve us well in the future?

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

March 9th, 2012 / 12:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, there are so many fallacies in that question I do not know where to start.

The medicinal use permit for marijuana still exists under Health Canada. As the hon. member knows, Health Canada grants permits in the appropriate circumstances to individuals who are suffering from glaucoma or some other pain-related illnesses where marijuana has been medically proven to ease their discomfort. Nothing has changed.

With respect to the suggestion that people who grow in excess of five plants for their own personal use would be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence, if the hon. member had been listening to me he would know that is not true. There has to be aggravating factors, the most likely one being for the purpose of trafficking. However, if they have a permit, they are not operating illegally, and if they are not trafficking, they are not operating illegally.

Nothing is changing with respect to the permits that are issued for legitimate medicinal use. Under the appropriate circumstances, those individuals will continue to have access, provided that they buy from a grower or distributor who is licensed by the Ministry of Health for that purpose.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

March 9th, 2012 / 12:50 p.m.
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Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Edmonton—St. Albert made an excellent speech. He has done a lot of good work on this. I think I will use his speech when explaining this issue to my constituents. What we have heard from the NDP is the shameful rhetoric that the opposition parties are putting out on this very important bill.

I am a chiropractor, and I had many patients who were addicted to different forms of drugs. They told me over and over again to do what I can because it is a slippery slope, that people start taking drugs and once they are addicted it is extremely difficult to get off them. That is why we as a government are focusing on stopping people in the first place.

I was wondering if the member could take a few minutes to clear up some of the misinformation. I know that in my constituency of Oshawa people are listening to the rhetoric and saying that we are going to be putting in jail kids who are found in their basement with a couple of joints or a couple of marijuana plants.

Could he reiterate the facts so that other members of the House are able to communicate with their own constituents about this important issue?

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

March 9th, 2012 / 12:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health for his good work on the health files and for his interest with respect to addictions.

As I indicated, with respect to the production of scheduled drugs, such as cannabis and marijuana, which is what I think the member for Western Arctic was most concerned about, aggravating factors have to be present.

Those aggravating factors, as I indicated, would be that the person used real property that belonged to a third party to commit the offence; the production constituted a potential security, health or safety hazard to children who were in the location where the offence was committed or in the immediate area; the production constituted a potential public safety hazard in a residential area where the person placed or set a trap.

With respect to trafficking, often rental properties are converted into grow operations. When those grow operations are dismantled by law enforcement, or simply because of the amount of electricity and humidity that are required to grow cannabis--I have read about this; I do not have any direct experience--often there is serious damage to the drywall and often to the structural foundation. When there is damage to real property, that is an aggravating factor that causes the aggravating sentence provisions to kick in.

Just to clarify, possession is not punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence; it is possession for the purposes of trafficking.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

March 9th, 2012 / 12:50 p.m.
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NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, as my colleagues know, I represent a riding where there are three federal correctional institutions—a medium-security facility and two minimum-security facilities. One of the minimum-security facilities will be turned into a medium-security institution in the very near future. In these prisons, staff work hard to rehabilitate inmates to ease their re-entry into the community.

I will convey what the head of the federal training centre told me two weeks ago. Given that these people will get out of prison, he said that what is important to him is safety. He was thinking about the fact that the inmate could move in next to me and be my neighbour. Therefore, he tries to ensure that an approach that is more community-based and centred on social rehabilitation is used.

The question that I would like to ask my colleague is very simple. In 2010, the crime severity index, which measures the severity of crimes committed in Canada, reached its lowest point since its inception in the 1980s. I would therefore like to know why the government claims that its bill is needed now more than ever, when we would like to emphasize prevention rather than this type of bill?

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

March 9th, 2012 / 12:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, there are two aspects to the hon. member's very good question.

As I indicated in my comments, the part of the bill that deals with serious drugs is part of a national anti-drug strategy that has three distinct prongs: preventing illicit drug use, treating those with illicit drug dependencies, and combatting the production and distribution of illicit drugs.

I concur with the hon. member that individuals who are incarcerated because of their addictions need access to rehabilitative programs. The public safety committee in the last Parliament, as she might know, wrote a comprehensive report on drug dependency and rehabilitation programs that are available in the federal penitentiary system.

The second part of her question is actually more challenging, and that is the whole notion that crime is somehow on the decline. I have to concede that officially reported crime statistics as reported by Statistics Canada based on how it measures crime in fact show decreases. However, Statistics Canada also surveys Canadians on whether or not they have been victims, and victimization is way up. In any given year, over 25% of Canadians state that they have been a victim of crime. Happily, most of that is property crime, and is not as serious, but nonetheless, victimization surveys show that crime is up.

With respect to the notion that crime is somehow diminishing, that is only officially reported crime statistics. The reason is that the police have changed how they measure crime. For example, if an individual breaks into three houses on one night, that used to be counted as three crimes, but now it is counted as one. The bigger problem is that Canadians are so fed up with the justice system they are not reporting crime. Officially reported crime might be down, but crime is not down.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

March 9th, 2012 / 12:55 p.m.
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NDP

Jasbir Sandhu Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, today I rise in the House to speak to Bill C-10 and its amendments from the other house.

The bill is not one bill, it is nine pieces of legislation combined and repackaged into one bill that has been rammed through the House over the past month by the Conservatives. Instead of receiving a thorough review, Bill C-10 is being rushed through Parliament purely to meet the Conservatives' 100-day passage promise from the last election.

The bill was rushed through the House so quickly that the Parliamentary Budget Officer was unable to complete a cost analysis before the bill was sent to the Senate. When he did complete a partial analysis of the bill, he found that just one portion of the bill would cost provinces an additional $137 million per year and the federal government an additional $8 million per year. Therefore, the total cost would be $145 million per year for just one portion of this huge bill.

The cost per offender will skyrocket from $2,575 to $41,000, which is a sixteen-fold increase. This is a direct contradiction to what the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Justice have claimed in that there will be no additional cost to the federal government associated with this portion of the bill.

I have stood in the House and asked the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Justice to explain why they have failed to do an adequate costing for Bill C-10. I have asked them why they failed to study the impacts of Bill C-10 on the criminal justice system, on our crowded jails and our overwhelmed courts. I have asked why they have never bothered to figure out how much the bill would cost the provinces. I have asked them why they are ramming this reckless bill through, a bill that would actually do nothing to make our communities a safer place.

It will not surprise most members of the House that the Minister of Public Safety did not bother to answer any of these questions. Instead of answering critical questions about a reckless public safety agenda that was destined for failure, the minister seems to prefer to hurdle accusations and insults across the floor. He stood in the House and accused me of supporting child molesters when he knew very well that not only did New Democrats propose provisions in Bill C-10 to target child molesters in the first place, but we also offered to split out sections of the bill dealing with sexual offences against children, enshrining victim's rights in the parole process and fast-tracking approval for them. However, the Conservatives refused.

Sadly, we know that facts do not really matter to the Conservatives. They do not look at the statistics. In the Senate committee hearings on Bill C-10, the Minister of Public Safety told senators to ignore the facts. He said, “I don't know if the statistics demonstrate that crime is down. I'm focused on danger”.

This is not the first time we have been told to ignore the facts by the Conservatives. In response to questions about Bill C-10, the Minister of Justice said, “We're not governing on the basis of the latest statistics”.

The Conservatives do not believe in real facts that we get from Statistics Canada and other places. When it comes to public safety, their motto is “ignore the facts”. That seems to be in the Conservatives' talking points. The Conservatives want to ignore the facts because the facts are not on their side. The facts will tell them that the bill will cripple our criminal justice system and will not make our communities any safer.

The Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Civil Liberties association and many experts from across the political spectrum have urged the government to rethink the sweeping changes to the criminal justice system contained in Bill C-10. Provincial leaders are speaking out and they have come to the committee to make passionate speeches and pleas to the government. They have been clear that they are not ready to bear the cost of this prisons agenda. Nor do they agree with many of the measures contained in the Conservative bill.

The prisons agenda has already failed in the United States. We have seen examples of this in Texas, California and southern states, where the states basically were led to the brink of bankruptcy. We have seen governments in the states moving away from the same approach the Conservatives are proposing here in Bill C-10.

States like Texas are now abandoning the mandatory minimum and three strike policies that led to ballooning prison costs and prison populations. They have found these approaches have actually done little to prevent crime, but have done a great deal toward bankrupting states.

Canada should be learning from the mistakes of our neighbours to the south, not repeating them. We need practical solutions on crime that improve safety in our communities, not old strategies that are expensive and have proven to be failures.

I know my Conservative friends do not like facts and do not talk about them, but I will give some facts anyway.

The crime rate, since peaking in 1991, continues to decline. In 2010 police reported crime in Canada continued its downward trend. Both the volume and the severity of crime fell from the previous year down 5% and 6% respectively.

There were approximately 77,000 fewer police reported crimes in 2010 than in 2009. Decreases of property crime, namely theft under $5,000, mischief, motor vehicle thefts and break and enters, accounted for the majority of the decline. Police also reported a decrease in homicide, attempted murders, robbery and assaults. These are the facts.

The 2010 crime rate, which measures the volume of police reported crime, reached its lowest level since the 1970s. Those are the facts. The crime severity index, which measures the seriousness of crime, dropped to its lowest points since the measure first became available in 1998.

Meanwhile in prison only about one in five inmates has access to programs such as anger management and substance abuse, according to Howard Sappers, the correctional investigator.

Canada has more people in pretrial custody than actually serving sentences at a ratio of about 60:40. Pretrial custody is at a provincial level.

Let us talk about the cost. The cost of the federal prison system has risen 86% since the Conservatives became government. When the Conservatives came to power in 2006, Canada's federal correctional system cost was nearly $1.6 billion per year, but the projected cost for this year, 2011-12, has increased to $2.9 billion, almost $3 billion per year. By 2013-14, the cost of the federal prison system will almost double to $3.14 billion, according to the department's own projections.

In 2010-11 alone, more than $517 million will be spent on prison construction. According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, a total annual average cost per prison cell has risen from $109,000 in 2000 to $162,000 in 2009-10. That is an increase of almost 48%. A single new low-security cell amounts to $260,000. A single new medium-security cell amounts to $400,000. A single new high-security cell amounts to $600,000.

The average annual cost per woman inmate was $343,810. The average total annual cost per male inmate in maximum security was $223,687. The cost per male inmate in medium security was about $141,000. The cost per male inmate in minimum security the cost is about $140,000. The average cost per inmate in a community correction centre was $85,000. The average cost per inmate on parole was close to $39,000.

The Conservatives have been upfront about the costs of their bills in the past. When asked about the cost of Bill C-25, which ended two-for-one credit for time served in pre-sentence custody, the Minister of Public Safety originally said that the price tag would be $90 million. Then he said it would be about $2 billion over five years. However, the Parliamentary Budget Officer ultimately found that the bill could double the annual prison costs from $4.4 billion to $9.5 billion in five years. That is a lot more than what the government is telling Canadians.

There has been no analysis or consultation with respect to the increased costs for enforcement or prosecution, which will be downloaded to the provinces. The provinces are already talking about the downloading of the costs of this crime bill that is being rushed through Parliament.

When I put all of this analysis together and I look at the struggling bill, I am faced with the sad reality that members opposite really do not care about the outcome and ultimately public safety.

In Surrey, where I come from, there are murders and gang violence. It is real, it is not just fodder for scoring political points. This is why New Democrats have called for more investment in front-line police officers and youth gang prevention programs. Instead, the Conservatives have cut those programs across the country and fail to fund new police officers.

People in communities like mine and across the country are left wondering why they are going to pay for a failed prison agenda.

I will be voting against the legislation. I ask members on the other side of the House to consider their communities, the people they are here to represent, and to vote against the bill. If I do not appeal to their sense of responsibility and perhaps compassion, then I hope to appeal to their logic or reasoning.

I can ask questions about the serious flaws in the bill. For example, Canada has more people in pretrial custody than actually serving sentences. These people are kept in provincial facilities, adding cost and burden to already overstressed court systems. Why is the government imposing more costs on the provinces without providing assistance to keep their systems afloat?

Mandatory minimums which remove judicial discretion are counterproductive. They can actually lead to judges giving lesser sentences than they might otherwise because they have to rely solely on the legislation as their sentencing guide. In particular, for cases like sexual assault, why is the government removing judicial discretion?

The mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana is more than that prescribed for child sexual assault. How is that logical?

Currently one in five inmates has access to programs like anger management and substance abuse. The bill would lead to even more crowded prisons, straining already thin resources for programs.

At the end of the day, 90% of inmates are going to be coming into our communities. They are going to be living in our neighbourhoods. We need programs that will help them to reintegrate into society so they do not reoffend and go through the revolving door about which the minister has talked. This is about public safety. How can the government put forward a bill that will mean even more offenders do not get the treatment they need?

Currently, the aboriginal population represents 2.8% of the entire population of Canada but account for 18% of the federal prison population. One out of every five prisoners in the federal system is aboriginal. How can the government bring forward legislation that will worsen this overrepresentation?

It is becoming very clear to me that there is no logical plea in this House that will ever elicit a rational response from the Conservatives because they do not want logic or facts to enter this debate, if we can call it that. Instead, they just want Canadians to be afraid so they will accept it when they pass such a fundamentally flawed piece of legislation like Bill C-10 into law, a bill that would paralyze our criminal justice system and crowd our prisons to the point that they will no longer have the capacity to rehabilitate prisoners who eventually will come back into communities.

There is another fact that Conservatives do not like to face. My community, like many communities across this country, has actual gang violence. We need more police on the streets. We have been urging the Conservatives to put more resources into long-term policing efforts by the communities. The FCM and a number of other organizations have been asking the government to fund more police officers on an ongoing basis.

We need jails with the capacity to rehabilitate instead of just acting as factories for producing more gang members. We also need to end the cynical politics of fear. I want to see real changes to make this country a safer place in which to live. I want to see investment in crime prevention and in youth gang prevention that stops our kids from getting into gangs in the first place.

I want our prisons to function so that criminals are actually rehabilitated and do not leave prison just to re-offend. I want more investment in front line officers. I want people to be less afraid and our communities to be safer places. I want a criminal justice system that prevents crime and thereby reduces the number of victims in this society. We need to invest in programs that prevent crime from happening in the first place.

Instead, the Conservatives are ramming through a bill that would cost billions of dollars and a bill in which the experts warn that safety concerns have not been addressed. We must not let the Conservatives convince us that this bill would do anything to make our communities any safer. I do not believe it would. All the Conservatives want to do is make Canadians afraid.

I will continue to do my job, to stand up and question, to oppose and even make appeals to reason and logic, even though I know the Conservatives will ignore my questions, call me names and accuse me of being with the child pornographers. One would think that everything I have been describing is as low as it gets but, sadly, it is not. The worst part is that they know everything I am saying is true. They know that Bill C-10 would not make our communities safer but they do not care. They do not want to look at the facts.

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

March 6th, 2012 / 10:25 a.m.
See context

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

moved the second reading of, and concurrence in, 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.

Mr. Speaker, I never get tired of talking about this subject. As hon. members know, the safe streets and communities act reintroduced nine bills that died on the order paper with the dissolution of the last Parliament. The government promised to enact these reforms within 100 days and we are delivering.

Before I turn my remarks to some of the key elements of the safe streets and communities act, I will highlight why our government has pursued these reforms and why and how this is important. It would be an understatement to say that our lives have changed substantially since the Criminal Code was first enacted in 1892. Much like other parliamentary democracies around the world, Canadian society and its values have and are continuously evolving and our justice system needs to evolve as well.

As Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, it is my responsibility to maintain the integrity of the justice system. We need legislation that is responsive to what is happening on our streets and meets the expectations of Canadians in the 21st century. The proliferation of drugs and violent crime is, unfortunately, a reality in this day and age and it is our job as parliamentarians to deal with criminals, to protect society and do whatever we can to deter crime.

The truth of the matter is that no parent wants their child to be the victim of a crime. We need only ask Lynne Lacasse whose 19-year-old son was senselessly murdered at a house party in 2004. Her son matters. She appeared before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and before the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in their studies of the safe streets and communities act. Her message was clear and it was not about vengeance. It was that the justice system needed to respond effectively and to learn from experience like that of her family so that, hopefully, other families do not suffer in the same way.

No parent wants their child to fall prey to a pedophile. In fact, parents list abduction and sexual exploitation as two of the three concerns they face with Canadian children. Any story on child pornography, whether it is about the pedophile who perpetrated the act or the one who watched it online, outrages each and every one of us. When involving a child, the consensus seems to be that sentences must be serious and lengthy.

Canadians are also concerned about the illicit drug trade. No Canadian wants to live next door to a grow op.

In British Columbia, Surrey Fire Service conducted a study and found that a home with a grow op was 24 times more likely to catch fire than a home without one. Even more troubling is that these fires are not always reported because no one actually lives in those dwellings, but there are families living right next door or across the street.

There are countless stories of Canadians who have been victimized and they are the first to lose confidence in our justice system. Many do not like to think these things happen in Canada until it happens to them or their loved ones. If we were to ask parents, I am sure they would say that the last thing they want is for their child to get involved in a life of crime or to become addicted to drugs. However, the sad reality is that it sometimes happens.

According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, illicit drug use costs Canadian society an estimated $8.2 billion a year. Canadian statistics show that offences involving certain types of illicit drugs, such as crystal meth, ecstasy, LSD, barbiturates and date rape drugs, rose by 168% between 1997 and 2007. As a parent, the fact that these are readily available is simply unacceptable. It is our job as parliamentarians to ensure we give the tools to law enforcement officials to prevent this and other crimes from happening.

My own Department of Justice conducted a comprehensive analysis of the cost of crime in 2008. The analysis included costs to the criminal justice system, for example police, court and prosecution costs; costs to the victims, including health costs, losses to property and losses to productivity; costs to third parties; and intangible costs such as pain, suffering and loss of life. It was estimated that those costs amount to approximately $100 billion. That is astounding and unacceptable.

Since 2007, I travelled from coast to coast listening to victims, community leaders, the police and my provincial counterparts. I have heard from them how best we can improve the Criminal Code. Victims tell me they want to ensure that nobody has to suffer the same sense of loss and frustration as they have.

Police impart upon me the necessity for more robust legislative tools so they can better protect Canadians. The provinces provide important regional perspective into crime and justice issues. For that, I have been very grateful. They often come forward with recommendations and requests for changes in the Criminal Code. Likewise, Canada's police forces across the country provide helpful insight and advice on our criminal justice system. They are, of course, the front-line experts when it comes to fighting crime. This input is crucial. We have responded.

Despite what some of our opponents say, we believe in a balanced and comprehensive approach to justice. Our government wants to prevent further victimization and make sure that Canada's most serious, violent criminals are kept off our streets. Our experience shows that toughening sentences does not create new criminals. It keeps the existing ones in prison for a more appropriate period of time. We want to make sure there is not a revolving door of justice.

Parliament has seen and debated all the measures included in the safe streets and communities act. This comprehensive legislation brings together nine bills: four previously introduced by me, four previously introduced by the Minister of Public Safety and one previously introduced by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. Over the past four years, the justice committee has spent 67 days reviewing these measures. That is 139 hours of discussion, 95 hours of debate, 261 speeches and 361 witness appearances.

It should be apparent by now why we have immersed these reforms into the safe streets and communities act. The act targets organized crime by imposing tough sentences for the production and trafficking of illicit drugs, and it responds to concerns about violent young offenders. It ends house arrest for serious crimes such as sexual assault, kidnapping and human trafficking, and it eliminates pardons for serious crimes such as sexual offences against children. It enacts legislation for victims of terrorism. It also prevents the abuse and exploitation of vulnerable immigrants. It enacts mandatory penalties for serious drug offences and all child sexual offences, all of them.

Much has been written about our government's introduction and passage of mandatory penalties for certain crimes. There are some myths surrounding this issue. Mandatory sentences have a long history in Canada. We are not the first government to introduce them. Indeed, over the years, both Liberal and Conservative governments have imposed mandatory minimum sentences. Today, the Criminal Code contains over 40 offences which carry a minimum sentence.

Criminal organizations that rely on the drug trade do not respect current penalties. They simply see them as a cost of doing business. The safe streets and communities act contains tougher penalties which specifically target the source of the illicit drug trade, the drug traffickers. The bill does not target substance abuse victims or experimenting teenagers. There are, contrary to some reports, no changes to the laws with respect to simple possession.

The kinds of offenders that we are targeting are those involved in exploiting the addictions of others. The fact is that police and prosecutors, those who work hard to keep our country safe, have been calling for these sentences for some time. They know all too well the reality on our streets with respect to drug dealers who infiltrate communities and cause irreparable harm, especially to our youth.

The amendments to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act would impose mandatory penalties for the offences of production, trafficking, possession for the purpose of trafficking, importing and exporting, possessing for the purpose of exporting Schedule I drugs, such as heroine, cocaine and methamphetamine, and Schedule II drugs, such as marijuana.

Mandatory penalties would apply where there is an aggravating factor. This includes where the production of a drug constitutes a potential security, health or safety concern, or the offence has been committed in or near a school.

The bill includes a specific exemption to allow for the use of drug treatment courts so that those who are unfortunately addicted can get the help they need. Drug treatment courts are for adult offenders who have committed non-violent crimes that are linked to their addictions. Our national anti-drug strategy provides $3.6 million per year to six drug treatment courts across Canada. By helping offenders overcome their addictions and improve their social stability, we will help reduce crime rates in this country. It is worth clarifying that even where there is no drug treatment court, the court sentencing the offender for a drug offence can still refer the offender for treatment if an appropriate treatment program is available and approved by the attorney general of the province.

The amendments for child sexual offences in the safe streets and communities and act have two objectives. First, they aim to consistently and adequately condemn all forms of child sexual abuse through the imposition of new and higher mandatory penalties for all sexual offences where the victim is a child. Second, they aim to prevent the commission of a sexual offence against a child through the creation of two new offences that target a certain type of conduct, as well as directing the courts to impose conditions that would prevent a suspected and convicted child sex offender from engaging in conduct that would enable or facilitate their sexual offending against a child. The current approach to penalties for child sexual abuse must end. The reforms in the safe streets and communities act would do just that.

The bill deals also with conditional sentences, usually referred to as house arrest. Our legislation would ensure that serious crimes such as sexual assault, kidnapping and human trafficking would not result in house arrest. Conditional sentences would continue to be unavailable for any offence with a mandatory minimum penalty. In addition, a conditional sentence would never be available for offences with a maximum of 14 years or life imprisonment; or for offences with a maximum penalty of 10 years that result in bodily harm or involve the import, export, trafficking or production of drugs or involve the use of a weapon; nor for a range of other offences including kidnapping, theft over $5,000 or motor vehicle theft. Our act would ensure that serious offences, including serious property offences like arson, would also not result in house arrest. This would ensure that jail sentences for such offences are served in jail.

Part 4 of the safe streets and communities act proposes amendments to the Youth Criminal Justice Act. These reforms would improve the ability to deal with violent and repeat young offenders, for example by highlighting the protection of the public, making it easier to detain young people charged with serious offences pending trial, ensuring that prosecutors consider seeking adult sentences for the most serious offences, prohibiting youth under 18 from serving sentences in an adult facility and requiring police to keep records of extra-judicial measures. The act continues to be a good framework to address young offenders. There is a shared view that young people should have the opportunity to be rehabilitated and have a second chance. However, there is also the concern that some youth, a small number who are out of control, are not being effectively dealt with under the current legislation. The safe streets and communities act reforms build on and preserve the solid framework of the act.

The amendments would not change the Youth Criminal Justice Act's current approach to making the principles of rehabilitation and reintegration of young persons who have committed offences the basis of our youth justice system. These reforms are not about detaining more or fewer youth. They are about facilitating appropriate and effective decision making at the pre-trial stage. This includes managing youth in the community where this is possible and ensuring that youth who should be detained can be detained. These reforms were previously proposed in the former Bill C-4 or Sébastien's law.

At the January 12 meeting of federal, provincial and territorial ministers of justice, we had a good discussion of the safe streets and communities act and the need for us to continue to work together toward its implementation.

Many of these reforms have been the subject of discussions over the years. Many are well supported by provincial and territorial ministers. The proposed reforms in the safe streets and communities act would come into force in the same manner as originally proposed. There is a coming into force clause for each part of the bill. The only parts of the safe streets and communities act that would come into effect on royal assent are the amendments relating to the Criminal Records Act and acts of terrorism. The other reforms, those to the Criminal Code, Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and the Youth Criminal Justice Act, would come into force on a day or days to be fixed by the order of the Governor in Council.

The Minister of Public Safety and I noted that we would seek the views of our provincial and territorial counterparts about the timely and effective implementation of these reforms. Clearly, as many of these amendments have been proposed for years, there is good reason to proceed expeditiously.

With the safe streets and communities act, our government would be once again sending out a message to criminals that they will be accountable for their actions and that crime will not be tolerated in this country. Our goal is to restore a sense of balance so that Canadians can continue to be confident in our justice system. The enactment of the safe streets and communities act would be another positive step for the people of this country.