Evidence of meeting #58 for Justice and Human Rights in the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was judge.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

5:05 p.m.

President, Canadian Police Association

Tony Cannavino

At the beginning of my presentation, I talked about the commitment of police officers to their society and their community. One important aspect of their work has to do with their training. From the outset, they are taught to be honest, upright and impartial. When they arrive at the scene of an incident, they must not have any bias with respect to the individuals involved. They must be objective and see what is happening. They then gather the information and gradually come to some conclusion about the incident and the way it occurred. They are taught in their training to be objective.

We have seen police officers sit on boards of directors or on committees on ethical matters and other matters as well. They must be objective and analyze the case before them. Police officers are not excluded from selection boards. They conduct interviews; they are familiar with the process. They follow the rules. At the first meeting, they are told how the committee works, and they follow that procedure.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Art Hanger

Thank you, Mr. Brown.

Mr. Bagnell.

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

Thank you.

I think the police do a tremendous job. But that's not the issue here, so I won't talk about the police.

I have one question, and then I'll give the rest of my time to Monsieur Ménard.

I think that the independence of the judiciary—relative independence—is one of the reasons Canadians have such great confidence in the system.

I have a simple question for each of the four witnesses: do you believe in the independence of the judiciary? That's how I'll make my decision.

5:10 p.m.

Chair, Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers

William Trudell

It's sacrosanct to our society, and that's what the concern is.

5:10 p.m.

President, Canadian Police Association

Tony Cannavino

For us, it's the same thing. And we know it won't be tainted with our representatives.

5:10 p.m.

Prof. Edward Ratushny

Absolutely.

5:10 p.m.

Retired Judge, As an Individual

Wallace Craig

Could I get the question again, please?

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

Do you believe in the independence of the judiciary?

5:10 p.m.

Retired Judge, As an Individual

Wallace Craig

Well, the independence of the judiciary is virtually a constitutional guarantee. It is the right to a term that is tenured until retirement. You can't be fired. You have no boss. You are at absolute liberty to speak as you wish in rendering any decision that is privileged. There is an adequate salary. Everything about the judicial appointment—

This process you're going to debate is the only opportunity you have to look at them and ask whether this is going to be a good judge. You're stuck with them for the next 30 years—or 40 years sometimes.

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

Thank you.

5:10 p.m.

Retired Judge, As an Individual

Wallace Craig

But there's no question that Canadian judges are absolutely independent.

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

Thank you. That's how I'll base my decision on this issue.

Mr. Ménard.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Myron Thompson Wild Rose, AB

This is not fair.

5:10 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga, QC

I would like to thank Mr. Bagnell, but I am not asking for special treatment. I am simply asking that everyone be given equal time. I will raise a point of order at the end of our meeting.

March 28th, 2007 / 5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Follow the list.