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

March 28th, 2007 / 4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Moore Fundy Royal, NB

On a point of order, Mr. Chair—

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Art Hanger

Mr. Moore is on a point of order.

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Moore Fundy Royal, NB

—I don't think this is an appropriate line of questioning, because we're supposed to, sitting here, try to understand what the Leader of the Opposition was saying. It was in the context of this very issue that he said this was manipulating the judge selection process.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

That's not a point of order.

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Moore Fundy Royal, NB

It is a point of order, because we're trying to have a question and answer period here, and you're talking about things that no one here could possibly answer.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

It's part of a speech. It's debate.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

May I continue?

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Art Hanger

You may continue. It's a point of debate.

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Thank you.

I believe that when the Chief Justice wrote a letter, it was not condemning the decision of the government to include police officers; it was concerning the government's choosing to change the composition, and the “highly recommended”, “recommended”, or “not recommended” to simply “recommended” and “not recommended”, with no prior consultation. That was my understanding. I read the letter that was published. That was my understanding. But I do understand, given the fact of statements that are at times made about police officers, how there could be a certain sensitivity and a reaction that automatically it meant that police officers shouldn't be there.

I'd like to make the point that the issue here, in my view, is not whether law enforcement should be part of the JACs or not. The point has been made that there may well have been police officers or retired police officers who in the past have been on the JACs. The issue here has to do somewhat with what Mr. Trudell was talking about, both the principle that we have an independent impartial judiciary and that over, I'd say, the last 25 years there have been serious efforts on the part of federal governments, from different governing parties, to improve the process to ensure that the process of selection—without diminishing the government's right to then appoint who they want, but the process of choosing and making recommendations to the government—was done in as independent and impartial a fashion as possible, and that consultation would take place.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Art Hanger

Ms. Jennings, put your question. Your time is about up.

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

My question to you is, if you are now on—Law enforcement is now there, and there was no prior consultation. If in three years' time the government, in its wisdom and with no prior consultation, decides that they're going to remove law enforcement, will you not be complaining, saying we should have been consulted, as should all of the other members?

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Art Hanger

Mr. Cannavino.

4:55 p.m.

President, Canadian Police Association

Tony Cannavino

I don't know whether I should answer a hypothetical question, but I would say that I'm pretty sure you will not come out with that, because you'll think it was a great idea, with the results of the committees. The thing about it is—

First of all, on behalf of all the police officers I represent, thank you very much to all of you for saying that you really like the police officers, that you think they do a great job. I appreciate that. I'll send a message to all my members.

The other thing is, I don't get it. Why wouldn't the process be independent and impartial because there's a police officer there?

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

That's not it. It's the lack of prior consultation.

4:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Art Hanger

Let Mr. Cannavino finish, please.