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.

5:10 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

My subamendment would be to amend proposed subsection 78.1(1) by omitting proposed paragraph 78.1(1)(d). This is as we had circulated it.

That's the content that was in the one we had circulated about lines 15 to 17, so now it would just be to eliminate any other amount owing as a result of any other judgment. We still have concerns about constitutionality. Most of those opinions that we've received privately concern proposed paragraph (d), because that's the one that seems most likely to invade provincial jurisdiction, and—

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Portage—Lisgar, MB

You're going to eliminate all of paragraph (d)...?

5:10 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Yes, we'd just take out (d). That's our proposed subamendment.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Kevin Sorenson

Mr. Garrison has moved the subamendment to delete proposed paragraph 78.1(1)(d).

Mr. Rathgeber.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

I have a question for Mr. Garrison. I'm curious as to why he is more concerned about the constitutionality of proposed paragraph 78.1(1)(d) than he is about proposed paragraph 78.1(1)(a).

I appreciate that proposed paragraphs 78.1(1)(b) and (c) are under federal jurisdiction—restitution under the Criminal Code of Canada and the victim surcharge under the Criminal Code of Canada—and that paragraph (d) would capture everything else. But paragraph 78.1(1)(a) would also capture child support orders as granted by the provincial courts in the various provinces. I understand his concern; I don't understand the distinction.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Kevin Sorenson

We'll go to Mr. Garrison and then Ms. Hoeppner.

5:10 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Just briefly, I think the distinction would be that in spousal and child support we have well-developed jurisprudence in that very narrow area of jurisdiction, which would I think guide the applications very easily. On the other hand, proposed paragraph (d) opens a broad door for a challenge to the constitutionality of this by including a whole grab bag of other things.

So proposed paragraph (a) is different. The federal and provincial law has been worked out in great detail on child support and spousal support because of the split of jurisdiction, but paragraph (d) just opens the door to all the other things that are in provincial jurisdiction.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Kevin Sorenson

Ms. Hoeppner.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Portage—Lisgar, MB

I wouldn't be able to support this amendment. I would argue that I think it would change the scope of the bill. The drafter of the bill included this as an important part of the priorities that would be paid out, and I think removing it changes the scope of the bill. It takes away from it.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Kevin Sorenson

Just so I'm correct on this, would this take away any other victims out there? You're including the family and spousal and child support, but could it take away...?

Go ahead, Mr. Rathgeber.

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

An example, Mr. Chair and Mr. Garrison, is that if an individual who is incarcerated had—unrelated to the reasons why he was incarcerated—been in a motor vehicle accident and injured me or my client, and has insurance, and I successfully sue that individual, I have a judgment against that individual pursuant to my damages for the motor vehicle accident. Let's say this individual suddenly comes into a settlement pursuant to—I don't know—maybe his suit against the director of CSC for mistreatment while he's inside prison.

So if paragraph (d) is in place, I, on behalf of the motor vehicle injury victim, can attach the proceeds he gets from his successful lawsuit against the director of CSC. If Mr. Garrison deletes paragraph (d), the only things that are covered are child support, spousal support, restitution, and victim surcharges.

So you're quite right. Ms. Hoeppner's quite right: it narrows it significantly for other classes of legitimate victims that the sponsor of this bill clearly intended.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Kevin Sorenson

Thank you.

When we start saying “outside the scope of the bill”, that's when I start to get a little concerned.

I don't see any other speakers on the subamendment, so I'll call the question. All in favour of the subamendment to delete paragraph (d)?

(Subamendment negatived)

Now we'll go back to amendment G-1. All those in favour of amendment G-1, brought forward by the government, please signify.

Oh, I'm sorry, Ms. Murray. We didn't have you on the list here. I'm sorry.

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

I was asking to speak generally to this amendment, as opposed to the subamendment.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Kevin Sorenson

I got you—then for certain we'll hear you.

May 10th, 2012 / 5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

I have to say that the spirit of cooperation and working together in this committee is very impressive. I much appreciate that.

I haven't been with you in the weeks you've spent on this private member's bill, but it was startling to see this comprehensive a set of changes put in front of us essentially minutes before the final vote on this piece of legislation. That makes it difficult for me, on behalf of the Liberals, to wholeheartedly support these amendments or this bill.

Even though we're in support of the principles of this bill—and I think we have been constructive members of the debate going forward—I would say that I'm not able to support this amendment, not because it isn't per se a positive change, as the NDP appeared to be indicating, but because the process makes it impossible to do due diligence.

So my request would be this. Can the kind of consultation that has led to this amendment be done in future in an earlier stage of the bill so that we're not seeing this 45 minutes before the deadline for the vote on the bill?