Evidence of meeting #24 for Justice and Human Rights in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was reasonable.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Joanne Klineberg  Senior Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice
  • Catherine Kane  Director General and Senior General Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice

Noon

NDP

Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

Shouldn’t that be taken into consideration? Do you think that adding that kind of a provision would be useful, or would it complicate things?

Noon

Senior Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice

Joanne Klineberg

I think it would lead to more questions than answers. That is already something that the courts understand well, when it is relevant. In many cases, it’s not at all relevant anyway. In the case of such a factor, we must really consider the wording used. There truly is a risk in this case.

Noon

NDP

Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

I have one last question, further to the first point I raised with you, about reasonableness and the subjective-objective distinction. Would it not behoove us to specify that the perception of reasonableness is precisely on the part of the person who used the force? Would that give rise to a problem? Would it solve a problem? Would we be able to clearly define the message, which is something the courts already often do? The courts are always criticizing lawmakers, saying that the legislation is vague and that they have a burden. They are criticized for creating law, but for once, we would tell them how to interpret matters.

Noon

Senior Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice

Joanne Klineberg

Generally speaking, that is how the courts deal with it. It is a matter of taking the perception of the accused into account, but insofar as that perception is reasonable.

I don’t think your suggestion would change how the legislation is interpreted or applied.

Noon

NDP

Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

However, it does not change the lawmaker’s intention behind Bill C-26.

Noon

Senior Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice

Joanne Klineberg

It wouldn’t do that either.

Noon

NDP

Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

Okay. Thank you.

Noon

Conservative

The Chair Dave MacKenzie

We have no further people on our list, and I think, Madam Boivin, we went way over on all of our time. I'm just thinking, if we have the answers to your questions....

Noon

NDP

Pierre Jacob Brome—Missisquoi, QC

I have another question.

The Barreau du Québec concludes its brief by stressing that subsection 494(2) of the Criminal Code should remain as it is. In the brief, the following is said:

We believe that an approach based on protecting the safety of individuals, including both the offender and victim of theft or property damage who enforces the law, is vastly preferable to an approach that could endanger individuals' safety.

I would like to hear what you think about the Barreau du Québec's opinion regarding subsection 494(2) of the Criminal Code.

Noon

Director General and Senior General Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice

Catherine Kane

We're always interested in the views of the various bar associations, but the position of le Barreau is basically that we shouldn't be changing the law at all. When the minister appeared before a committee, and in other statements he's made, he made it clear that the government is of the view that the law should be modernized, and that the current law for citizen's arrest is too constraining in its treatment of fines. The bill wouldn't be before the House or your committee if the view of le Barreau was agreed to by the government. So as in other instances, the law will evolve. The citizen's arrest law hasn't been changed for a number of years, and it's time there was a bit more flexibility provided.

Noon

Conservative

The Chair Dave MacKenzie

Thank you.

I think we will bring this part to an end. I want to thank the witnesses, and I want to thank the opposition for allowing Mr. Wilks to ask questions.

Just so that everybody's up to speed, on Thursday we will go to clause-by-clause on Bill C-26. If we have time, which we may, we'll have the report on organized crime back and we can try....

Oh, the clerk says you'll get it as soon as we all get back. He has the new version in his pocket.

Mr. Goguen.

March 6th, 2012 / noon

Conservative

Robert Goguen Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

I have a question for the clerk. The amendments were all highlighted, so obviously we'll be able to quickly get to what's been changed, correct?

Noon

The Clerk of the Committee

Yes.

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Dave MacKenzie

Thank you very much.

The meeting is adjourned.