Evidence of meeting #21 for Justice and Human Rights in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was public.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Simon Fournel-Laberge  As an Individual
  • Gaylene Schellenberg  Lawyer, Legislation and Law Reform, Canadian Bar Association
  • Scott Bergman  Section Member, National Criminal Justice Section, Canadian Bar Association
  • William Trudell  Chair, Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers
  • Julie McAuley  Director, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada
  • Martha Mackinnon  Executive Director, Justice for Children and Youth
  • Agnes Samler  President, Defence for Children International-Canada
  • Les Horne  Executive Director, Defence for Children International-Canada
  • Mia Dauvergne  Senior Analyst, Policing Services Program, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada
  • Craig Grimes  Chief/Advisor, Courts Program, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada
  • Irwin Elman  Provincial Advocate, Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth (Ontario)
  • Lee Tustin  Advocate for Children and Youth, Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth (Ontario)

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

This is the uniform crime reporting survey of 2008.

11:55 a.m.

Section Member, National Criminal Justice Section, Canadian Bar Association

Scott Bergman

I don't have that. I don't know what everything else around it is and I don't know the scope of the study, so it's very hard for me to comment on it.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Is it your impression, based on whatever studies you're familiar with, that violent crime among Canadian youth is up or down in the last ten years, or since 2003, when the new legislation came into force?

11:55 a.m.

Section Member, National Criminal Justice Section, Canadian Bar Association

Scott Bergman

I hadn't walked away with that impression from the studies I reviewed. But in fairness, that's not why we're here today. We're not here quoting study after study. There are other people who can do that, I'm sure, for the committee.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

In your presentation you said that youth crime was down.

11:55 a.m.

Section Member, National Criminal Justice Section, Canadian Bar Association

Scott Bergman

That's based on the study that I mentioned, which indicates so.

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

In the study that you're referring to, is violent youth crime up or down, or is it not broken down?

Noon

Section Member, National Criminal Justice Section, Canadian Bar Association

Scott Bergman

I believe it says it's down.

Noon

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Trudell, you look as if you might have something to add. No?

Noon

Chair, Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers

William Trudell

I think if you do careful studies and call experts, you're going to find that violent crime is down right across the country. You will find, however, that there are pockets where violent crime seems to be on the increase, and you've addressed this issue in relation to your organized crime study. You have gang problems in some centres.

I don't think that figure can be taken as you present it. I think the trend in crime is down, including violent crime.

There are of course the serious offences that happen—they're almost anecdotal—that cause a lot of attention among the public. Those are the ones concerning which we have to be careful about changing the Criminal Code in response to certain cases. But quite frankly, I disagree with that statistic.

Noon

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

But may I ask, should we as legislators be happy and satisfied that 50,000 incidents of violent crime per year are committed among youth? Or should we look to fine-tune the system to try to lower those numbers?

Noon

Chair, Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers

William Trudell

Well, there's no question. Nobody in this room--whether we're defence counsel, crown, police, legislator, or whatever—none of us likes violent crime. But you don't sledgehammer it. What you do is gather experts and ask whether there really is a problem. And fine-tuning is quite different from changing the philosophy of legislation that's working. That's my response.

Noon

Conservative

The Chair Ed Fast

Thank you very much.

Given the fact that we started about ten minutes late, we're just going to do one quick round of two minutes each. We'll go to the Liberals and then to the Bloc and then to one from the government.

Ms. Mendes.

June 3rd, 2010 / noon

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Fournel-Laberge, my questions are for you. I think that we might have got the wrong impression of your position on incarceration.

First of all, I would like to congratulate you for your testimony and the courage you have shown. It also shows that the system does work, that we can rehabilitate a young person to build up his confidence to come and speak before parliamentarians.

I would like to ask you first where were you rehabilitated?

Noon

As an Individual

Simon Fournel-Laberge

It was at the Maison de l'Apprenti and at the Résidence Taché.