Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act

An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the National Defence Act (mental disorder)

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

Sponsor

Rob Nicholson  Conservative

Status

Second reading (Senate), as of June 18, 2013
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

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

This enactment amends the mental disorder regime in the Criminal Code and the National Defence Act to specify that the paramount consideration in the decision-making process is the safety of the public and to create a scheme for finding that certain persons who have been found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder are high-risk accused. It also enhances the involvement of victims in the regime and makes procedural and technical amendments.

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

  • June 18, 2013 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-54, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the National Defence Act (mental disorder), not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration of the third reading stage of the Bill; and that, at the expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration of the 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 said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.
  • May 28, 2013 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
  • May 27, 2013 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-54, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the National Defence Act (mental disorder), not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and that, at the expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration of the 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.

Bill C-54—Time Allocation Motion
Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act
Government Orders

June 18th, 2013 / 4:45 p.m.
See context

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

moved:

That, in relation to C-54, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the National Defence Act (mental disorder), not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration of the third reading stage of the Bill; and

That, at the expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration of the 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 said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-54—Time Allocation Motion
Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act
Government Orders

June 18th, 2013 / 4:45 p.m.
See context

NDP

Nathan Cullen Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, people say hitting 50 is not easy. It can be hard on a person, realizing that shutting down debate 50 times in the House of Commons is breaking all previous records by any government, and there have been some bad governments.

I am sure my Conservative colleagues would agree that there have been some awful Liberal and Conservative governments, but this one is beating them all. Even on bills that we in the official opposition agree on and even on bills that we should have some discussion about, the government feels inclined to abuse its power as a majority government, something the Conservatives said, when they were in opposition, was wrong and anti-democratic.

I remember the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and the Prime Minister saying that for a majority government to abuse its power by shutting down debate like this was wrong. These guys took lessons from those bad governments and made it so much worse.

Shutting down debate 50 times is not something that the Conservatives should be celebrating. On something as important as justice issues, the government wants to shut down debate even before the discussion has begun. How can the minister possibly expect, after so many experiences with his government writing bad law that gets challenged at the Supreme Court, that he is justified here again today in shutting down debate in the House of Commons? I am not the one saying it is bad law; it is our Supreme Court justices who are striking down his laws, which is very costly to Canadians and bad for justice.

Let us just have the conversation. Let us get justice right. Let us make the system work for Canadians and not have some draconian ideology shutting down conversations and shutting down our democracy.

Bill C-54—Time Allocation Motion
Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act
Government Orders

June 18th, 2013 / 4:45 p.m.
See context

Niagara Falls
Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, in the first part of his remarks, the member said there was something we could agree on. I want the House to know that as a student of Canadian history, I am very familiar with the governments that have governed this country, and there have been no bad Conservative governments in the history of this country—none.

If the member wants me to table evidence or information with respect to that statement, we could go right back to Sir John A. Macdonald and the founding of this country. We could go back to Mr. Mulroney, John Diefenbaker, R.B. Bennett, Arthur Meighen and Sir Robert L. Borden. They did a great job.

The hon. member—

Bill C-54—Time Allocation Motion
Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act
Government Orders

June 18th, 2013 / 4:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to spend the whole 30 minutes talking about great Canadians like Brian Mulroney and other great Canadians, but 30 minutes would not be nearly enough to talk about the accomplishments of Conservative prime ministers in this country. It would not even come close to what we would need.

That said, I am pleased that we are moving forward on this Bill C-54 that concerns not criminally responsible individuals. I think, and everybody should agree, that having five hours of debate can be very helpful. This bill has been in the works for quite some time. It has been before committee and it was here for second reading.

Again, I hope nobody over there is offended that protection of the public will be the paramount consideration. It seems to me that protection of the public should have the support of everyone. I look forward to this debate.

Bill C-54—Time Allocation Motion
Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act
Government Orders

June 18th, 2013 / 4:50 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are putting forward closure for the 50th time, but there is reason to celebrate. We saw the money that the Conservatives spent on 1812, and I think celebrating this is at least worthy of the same type of budget.

The Montreal Canadiens have won 25 Stanley Cups and have pennants hanging from the ceiling. The New York Yankees have 40 World Series championships, and pennants hang from their rafters. Are the Conservatives contemplating action plan signs hanging from the roof of the chamber? They should take a great deal of pride in their abuse of the democratic process in this House.

Bill C-54—Time Allocation Motion
Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act
Government Orders

June 18th, 2013 / 4:50 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, this party, I think, invented the democratic process and certainly adapted it here in Canada, so we have so much to be proud of.

I would say to the hon. member that I appreciate that those members always just want to talk about procedure, but I would ask them to sometimes, on these justice bills, look at the substance. It is standing up for victims and protecting the public. They should think about that. Let us talk about that.

Again, I am probably talking to deaf ears when I talk to members of the Liberal Party. Procedure is all they want to talk about. They never want to get into protecting victims and standing up for the public interest of this country. That is what we are all about on this side.

Bill C-54—Time Allocation Motion
Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act
Government Orders

June 18th, 2013 / 4:50 p.m.
See context

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I apologize to the hon. Minister of Justice for interrupting. However, when we are on a motion, which by its terms requires us to speak to procedure on time allocation, I do wish the Minister of Justice would stick to the relevance and not accuse those of us in opposition for being irrelevant when we speak to the point at hand, which is time allocation, a matter of procedure.

Bill C-54—Time Allocation Motion
Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act
Government Orders

June 18th, 2013 / 4:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Matthew Dubé Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, in my opinion, if Canadians thought that the Mulroney government was so extraordinary, they would not have reduced it to a two-member caucus at the next election.

The fact remains that the minister is doing what his colleague, the Minister of Heritage, did with Bill C-49. He claims that he is mulling over the issue and that he has been working on the bill for some time. However, he should make the distinction between his work, the work he does behind the scenes, and the business of Parliament. I think that they are three separate things.

Members heard the same thing from the Minister of Canadian Heritage when he claimed that the matter has been a topic of discussion for the past eight months. Perhaps he has been discussing the issue for the past eight months, but members of the House, duly elected by Canadians, have not had the same opportunity. We support the bill being debated in the House. However, as members, we are nevertheless very pleased to be able to have an opportunity to speak.

I think that the minister should make the distinction. Moreover, he should stop saying that the simple act of debating the issue automatically means that victims’ rights are not being respected. In my opinion, that is a disrespectful case to be making, both to colleagues in the House and to me.

Bill C-54—Time Allocation Motion
Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act
Government Orders

June 18th, 2013 / 4:50 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will not correct one of the mistakes the member made about what happened in Canadian history.

That being said, I am very pleased to discuss the substance of this bill. I appreciate that other members say that we should always talk about procedure, but, again, I respectfully disagree with that.

The member asked what we have done. Yes, I have discussed this with my federal-provincial counterparts, certainly in my last meeting with them at the end of last year. What is most important as well, and this has been a priority for this government throughout the last seven and a half years, is that we speak with victims' groups all the time.

Whenever I leave Ottawa and visit any community across this country, I always sit down and meet with victims. They were very clear on issues like the not criminally responsible provisions of the Criminal Code, other areas of the Criminal Code and indeed the procedures that are in our criminal courts and our judicial system. They have been very clear that they want their priorities to be heard, that they are important and that their issues should be addressed. I have been very pleased and very proud that this legislation does exactly that. This is why I think it is so well received among victims' groups.

Bill C-54—Time Allocation Motion
Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act
Government Orders

June 18th, 2013 / 4:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have more of a comment than a question.

I just want to say that on the weekend I had the great pleasure of reading a fairly well-written piece in The Globe and Mail about our Supreme Court Chief Justice. I think colleagues here may wish to read that report, because the Chief Justice did make comments about the direction the bill we are now going to be debating for the next five hours or so is headed. I think members might want to take it into account before they cast their vote.

Bill C-54—Time Allocation Motion
Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act
Government Orders

June 18th, 2013 / 4:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, again, many different elements go into making up this legislation, a number of which I am particularly proud of.

Certainly helping to ensure that victims are notified upon request when an NCR accused is discharged makes a lot of sense. I think it is only fair. Again, this is what victims groups have told me: allow non-communication orders between the not criminally responsible accused and the victim. I think most people would agree with that. It does not fit into an argument about procedure, but rather about substance, putting that in there to make sure victims are heard.

This is not confined, of course, to this piece of legislation, but is relevant to all the pieces of legislation that we have introduced. In fact, that is one of the first questions my colleagues will ask once a bill is drafted: “What are you doing for victims? Are victims being taken into consideration?”

I have been very proud over these last six or seven years to assure them that, yes, the rights and the concerns of victims are incorporated into legislation, and this bill is no exception to that rule.

Bill C-54—Time Allocation Motion
Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act
Government Orders

June 18th, 2013 / 4:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Dan Albas Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate the Minister of Justice's explanations thus far. I would simply like to ask the minister this.

The NDP voted at committee for this legislation to proceed. The Liberals, obviously, are certainly happy with the status quo and do not believe that needs to be changed. The victims that were heard at committee clearly said that this bill would help people like them in very tragic circumstances have a sense of safety, security and that they are being heard. If we do what the NDP wants, which would be to stall this, what consequences would that have? It would certainly take us through the summer break.

I would like to hear if the Minister of Justice thinks it is appropriate to make victims suffer further under the status quo that the opposition seems to be fine with.

Bill C-54—Time Allocation Motion
Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act
Government Orders

June 18th, 2013 / 4:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member said that my comments and answers so far were very acceptable and pleasing to him. I want him to know that I will do my best to continue throughout the balance of this half hour to ensure my comments are satisfying and pleasing to him.

That said, he makes a very good point. We know what is happening. My colleagues across the aisle would like to debate this continuously and indefinitely. Then again, if we did that, the bill would not be passed before the summer break, and it is important that this piece of legislation, which, as I have indicated, takes into consideration what victims have been asking for, becomes the law of Canada.

I say to all members that there will be five hours of debate. The hon. government House leader indicated that is available to members. If members have not had an opportunity or did not take into consideration what happened in committee or during the second reading debate, I encourage them to get on their feet. Hopefully, when they analyze this, as I am sure they have over the last four or five months that this bill has been before Parliament, they will come to the same conclusion that my colleagues and people across this country have: that this is a good piece of legislation and what we need in this country.

Bill C-54—Time Allocation Motion
Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act
Government Orders

June 18th, 2013 / 4:55 p.m.
See context

NDP

Anne-Marie Day Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, 48, 49, 50, that is what should be announced in all the social media and on television all across Canada. That makes 50 times this government has muzzled us and prevented us from discussing a bill, one that deserves to be debated here in the House. We have the right to debate it. For some of my constituents and many of those of other members, the only time they hear it discussed is when we talk about it together here.

McDonald's no longer just refers to fast food. We are talking about a McDebate here. The Conservatives do not want to sit in the House any longer. They no longer want to take the time to sit in the House, apart from a mere five hours per bill.

Bill C-54—Time Allocation Motion
Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act
Government Orders

June 18th, 2013 / 5 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Niagara Falls, ON

Again, Mr. Speaker, I would point out to the hon. member that we introduced this bill in early March. This has been part of the public record and has been before Parliament since that time.

If members do not like a bill or do not want us to move forward in the justice area, I can appreciate that they would want to continuously debate these issues, but they have another five hours of debate after this has already been before the committee and debated at second reading. Most Canadians analyzing this would think that is pretty reasonable. Most Canadians would say that this is an important piece of legislation, making the protection of the public the paramount consideration when these matters are heard and better protecting victims in this country. Most victims would say to never mind last March; they wish we could have done this a long time ago. This is consistent with what this government has been doing over the last seven years.

Again, I urge hon. members to do the right thing by victims by supporting this bill and getting it passed.