Evidence of meeting #4 for Subcommittee on Private Members' Business in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was voted.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

June 19th, 2012 / 11:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Harold Albrecht

There are no concerns regarding C-420 to proceed, so it will proceed.

Next is C-424.

11:10 a.m.

Committee Researcher

Sebastian Spano

This bill would amend the Canada Elections Act to increase fines for certain offences. It would also permit the Chief Electoral Officer to contest the election of a candidate. This bill does not appear to be outside federal jurisdiction. It does not appear to violate the Constitution, including the charter. There's no similar private member's bill that had been voted on in the current session, and there's no government bill that had already been voted on in the current session similar to this bill.

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Harold Albrecht

Mr. Toone, go ahead.

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Philip Toone Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Is there a question of royal recommendation here?

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Harold Albrecht

Yes. Again, I think some of these will require that, but that doesn't come into consideration by this committee.

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Why would they need a royal recommendation? Is expenditure involved?

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Philip Toone Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

There are fines. It's possibly a form of taxation.

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

I think that's okay.

My point was a different one. I'm wondering at what point you make a penalty high enough that it can no longer be dealt with by summary conviction. It needs to be treated as a criminal matter. Some of these numbers are pretty large, a year in prison and $20,000. Does that not create a problem?

11:15 a.m.

Committee Researcher

Sebastian Spano

I'm not sure there is a criterion or given threshold upon which summary procedure is no longer permitted. With regard to the criteria, this committee is—

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

No, what would happen is it would relate to.... Let's say for the sake of the argument, to make the point in a very stark fashion, that for the summary conviction the fine were hanging or imprisonment for life. That would be problematic. You would have to have a criminal proceeding before you could carry out something so severely punitive. The line is drawn somewhere, but I'm just not sure where the line is drawn. I don't know if it's a bright line or a fuzzy one.

11:15 a.m.

Committee Researcher

Sebastian Spano

I mentioned the bill. If you look on the first page, at the proposed paragraphs 500(5)(a) and (b), the first of those paragraphs is with respect to summary convictions, and the amount of the maximum fine is increased to $20,000. The second paragraph is with respect to conviction on indictment. Then the fine is established at the maximum of $50,000. The bill makes a distinction, as currently the act does too.

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

At some point you are making a distinction between being hanged and being hanged, drawn, and quartered, right, if it's severe enough?

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Harold Albrecht

I think we're getting into the content of the bill. At this committee we need to limit ourselves to the question of votability. If I could ask us to limit our remarks to that, are there any further remarks on all four criteria? Seeing none, I am assuming that you are all in agreement to allow this to proceed? Okay.

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

I actually have a reservation about that. My criterion is the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The question is that at some point you—

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Harold Albrecht

You want to make that point? That's what the committee is for.