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

4:35 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga, QC

Very well.

I'll ask my second question, and then turn the floor over to Mr. Cannavino.

Am I mistaken in believing that police officers, who do admirable work with integrity, are involved in the process? In a number of provinces, not in Quebec but elsewhere in Canada, they initiate the indictment process.

4:35 p.m.

Prof. Edward Ratushny

They start the criminal cases, you're saying?

4:35 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga, QC

Yes.

4:35 p.m.

Prof. Edward Ratushny

Well, it goes beyond that. They're involved in the criminal cases. Their conduct is reviewed in the course of a criminal trial, so they're very much partisans in the process. So unlike the lawyer, whose conduct is not judged in the ultimate determination of the case, the conduct of police officers may well be and frequently is.

So that in that respect, I believe they're partisan.

4:35 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga, QC

Very well.

Mr. Cannavino, I'm sure you're dying to express your views on that.

4:35 p.m.

President, Canadian Police Association

Tony Cannavino

You know my characteristic composure.

4:35 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga, QC

Yes, and that is in fact why your comments are perfectly relevant to our study.

4:35 p.m.

President, Canadian Police Association

Tony Cannavino

Absolutely.

You want to know if we need legislation. Legislation can be amended over time by governments and as positions change. I don't think it would be appropriate to have legislation. It is not an important or major point for us.

The minister is accoutable to the Prime Minister as well as to the House of Commons. That is the process. You hold lively debates, and your comments sometimes influence decisions. We leave that part up to legislators.

With respect to knowing whether the police officers have a specific mission, most probably. That's what I was saying earlier on.

4:35 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga, QC

Not a mission, a conflict of interest.

4:35 p.m.

President, Canadian Police Association

Tony Cannavino

You referred to a specific mission and then to conflicts of interest, if I am not mistaken.

We certainly have a specific mission. I would imagine it is the same specific mission as that of all members of the committee, in other words to find the person who has the most integrity, who is the most honest, who has good experience and who will serve justice well. I think our concerns are the same as those of all other members of the committee.

With respect to police officers having a conflict of interest, I think there are very few professions that are as closely overseen as law enforcement. There's the police force's internal affairs unit and there are discipline committees.In some provinces, they are called SIUs and in Quebec, they are called comité de déontologie, ethics committees. And then, there is criminal court. Essentially, if police officers are in conflicts of interest or not doing their work with integrity, they are suspended.

4:35 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Cannavino, that is not what I am questioning.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Art Hanger

Mr. Ménard, no. Your time is up.

4:35 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga, QC

I would like to ask one last question. You gave the Liberals 12 minutes. I did not get 12 minutes.

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Art Hanger

Your time is up. With the aid of your Liberal colleague, your time is up.

Mr. Comartin.

March 28th, 2007 / 4:40 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you all for being here.

Justice Craig, would it be fair for me to characterize your position in the testimony you gave today as being very much in the minority of that of the vast majority of judges currently sitting on the bench?