Evidence of meeting #39 for Public Safety and National Security in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was victims.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Steve Sullivan  Former Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, As an Individual
  • Michael Anderson  Director, Natural Resources Secretariat, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc.

4 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

It is, under normal debtor-creditor law.

4 p.m.

Director, Natural Resources Secretariat, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc.

Michael Anderson

All right. The distinction here, firstly, is that it's a piece of federal legislation that we're discussing. Her Majesty had a significant and central role in the Indian residential school system, unlike the Government of Alberta, which may have been involved in some way, but it was a policy of the government, of Her Majesty, so there is a major distinction in terms of the origin of what we're describing as the wrong.

The federal government itself has acknowledged its role through an apology delivered in the House of Commons by the Prime Minister of Canada. I would say respectfully that that significantly distinguishes the type of wrong we're describing that might be otherwise addressed through the ordinary court recourse under the laws of Alberta.

4 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

I understand all of that, but my question is.... Today, in May 2012, if an individual in my province of Alberta came into a settlement—today—without this piece of legislation, and if I represented a judgment creditor of that person, somebody who had successfully sued that individual in court, I would be able to attach the proceeds of that settlement.

So my specific question is this. I don't know if you're a lawyer; I suspect you're not. Do you know of anything in Manitoba law that differentiates what would be the normal rights of a creditor today to attach the proceeds of a residential school settlement?

4 p.m.

Director, Natural Resources Secretariat, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc.

Michael Anderson

I am not a lawyer, and the comments that I'm making are not a legal opinion, although I work closely with our lawyers.

No, I am not—subject to check—aware of something that may make moneys an individual has not subject to some form of allocation through an order of the court.

4 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Sure.

4 p.m.

Director, Natural Resources Secretariat, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc.

Michael Anderson

Again, my comment, though, is that we're not discussing a process to transfer the awards of moneys under the laws of Manitoba. We're talking about a federal statute dealing with individuals who have an award being provided to them by the federal government, in part through actions of the government that it has acknowledged.

Again, I would say they are distinguished from those two cases on—

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Okay, and I understand that, and I respect your view. The problem—and it's a big one—is that if there's an amendment to this legislation to create an exemption for a person in a federal institution who comes into a settlement, that person will be able to shield his or her settlement from his judgment creditors and a person on the outside won't.

I have not seen the NDP amendment, but if it says what I suspect it says, it's creating an exemption for federal prisoners that members outside the federal institutions do not currently enjoy. That's not really a question; it's a statement. I'll leave it at that, Mr. Chair.

That's fine—

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Kevin Sorenson

There's a minute and a half left.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

—unless you want to comment.

4:05 p.m.

Director, Natural Resources Secretariat, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc.

Michael Anderson

I want to comment that the object of the bill is not to create a uniformity in terms of the processing of claims and the ability to attach moneys that persons who are offenders might come into. We're dealing with a specific piece of federal legislation that is designed to amend another specific piece of federal legislation dealing with Corrections and conditional releases, as distinct from the ability to seize and attach moneys. I think we need to keep very closely—

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

The bill is an attempt to create a priority for victims outside the normal provincial laws of creditor priorities. So you're right—it's an attempt not to attach. It's an attempt to create an exemption and then create priorities.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Kevin Sorenson

Thank you, Mr. Rathgeber.

We'll move to Mr. Scarpaleggia, please, for seven minutes.

May 10th, 2012 / 4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Thank you.

This is a fascinating debate. It's very edifying, and I'm following it with great interest.

As I understand it, just so that I'm clear, Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Anderson are on opposite sides of this particular issue. Is that correct?

4:05 p.m.

A voice

Yes.

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

If I understand it, Mr. Anderson, your argument, which is obviously a very strong one, is essentially that these payments to victims of residential schools were ordered by the federal government, pursuant to an acknowledgment that the federal government had done some wrong and was responsible for victimizing many in residential schools.

Is that the fundamental logic? It seems to be what I'm picking up, but I just want to make sure I understand.