Evidence of meeting #34 for Public Safety and National Security in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was back.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Roger Préfontaine
  • Mary Campbell  Director General, Corrections and Criminal Justice Directorate, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
  • Michel Laprade  Senior Counsel, Legal Services, Correctional Service Canada

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Brampton West, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Since you're going to respond in terms of the four cases, I'm going to suggest to you once again that this is simply an attempt by the minister to get around the fact that he was told he was not exercising his discretion in a reasonable manner.

4:40 p.m.

Senior Counsel, Legal Services, Correctional Service Canada

Michel Laprade

I'll limit my comments to the court cases and the direction of the court in these matters. The courts have emphasized greatly that they have to give great deference to ministerial decisions and discretionary decisions. That's administrative law in Canada; that's the way it is.

However, they've pointed out--and that's what continues to be relevant and will continue to be relevant even after this bill will be in place--that the minister cannot make decisions out of the blue. He has to make decisions that are intelligible, based on rational reasons. So the fact that, for example, in Getkate, we may have had a decision where the reasons were not in sync with the whole file, that made it the case we got.

The reality is that each decision has to be made on using the factors and circumstances of the case that are in front of the minister. He has to make a decision on the basis of those facts and the evidence he has before him and he has to make a decision that is intelligible on these bases. So it is not a pure discretion.

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Kevin Sorenson

Thank you, Mr. Laprade.

Mr. Rathgeber.

October 20th, 2010 / 4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you to the witnesses for their attendance today and for their testimony.

To pick up on where my friend Mr. Kania might have been going, I understand statistically that in the decade preceding 2007 there were over 10 times as many Canadian offenders transferred back to Canada as there were offenders who were transferred out of Canada to foreign jurisdictions. Does that sound right?

4:40 p.m.

Director General, Corrections and Criminal Justice Directorate, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mary Campbell

That sounds like the usual ratio.

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

There were 1,351 Canadian offenders to Canada and 124 offenders out of Canada.

4:40 p.m.

Director General, Corrections and Criminal Justice Directorate, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Do you have any idea why such a disproportionate number of Canadians want to come home?

4:40 p.m.

Director General, Corrections and Criminal Justice Directorate, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mary Campbell

You know, it would be pure professional speculation on our part as to why in many cases foreign offenders don't wish to go home. I don't know at the moment how many foreign offenders we have in Canadian prisons so as to judge what proportion of them are choosing to apply for transfer or not....

But Michel may know that.

4:40 p.m.

Senior Counsel, Legal Services, Correctional Service Canada

Michel Laprade

I may add something. There are several factors that influence the way things are in the statistics. Foreign offenders in Canada are susceptible to removal orders. Many of them will get removal orders, and as soon as they get out on parole.... A long time ago we had parole for deportation purposes. We've dropped that, but we still have a number of foreign offenders who are removed from Canada as soon as they get out on full parole or on day parole when they are reaching the full parole eligibility date.

So the application for transfers here from foreign offenders and the numbers we have in comparison to other countries may seem a bit lower, but the reality is that they do get back to their own countries on deportation rather than on transfer--more so than in other countries, for example, where they don't have a parole system and they apply for transfer.

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Does Canada receive compensation from other countries that send Canadian nationals back to Canada under this arrangement?

4:40 p.m.

Director General, Corrections and Criminal Justice Directorate, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mary Campbell

No. It's regarded as an international mutual assistance arrangement, if you like.

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Similarly, then, we don't pay other countries that house their nationals who might have been convicted in our country.

4:40 p.m.

Director General, Corrections and Criminal Justice Directorate, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mary Campbell

That's correct.

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Thank you.

I understand, again from the same statistics, that the vast majority of denials were on the basis of being a threat to Canadian security or that the individual had long abandoned their roots to Canada. Is that correct?