House of Commons Hansard #58 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was property.

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Message from the Senate
Government Orders

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I have the honour to inform the House that a message has been received from the Senate informing the House that the Senate has passed the following bill: Bill S-2, An Act respecting family homes situated on First Nation reserves and matrimonial interests or rights in or to structures and lands situated on those reserves.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-26, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (citizen's arrest and the defences of property and persons), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
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3:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Kitchener—Conestoga.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
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3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I certainly agree with my colleague on the emphasis to be placed on restorative justice initiatives. In my region of Waterloo, there are many great restorative justice initiatives that are achieving excellent results. I think he and most of my colleagues would agree that particular approach is not always effective. We still need an effective criminal justice system to be in place.

I was somewhat surprised at his innuendo in the first part of his comments. He implied that there are times when the Conservative Party is not open to input. This party is very eager for input, to have discussion, dialogue, collaboration and consultation, but there comes a time when it is necessary to take action. For example, Bill C-13 was before the House recently. We had been having discussions about the budget since last March and it was time to implement the initiatives in it. Canadians expect us to take action.

He also referred to his concerns about ensuring that there be reasonable grounds that the person under suspicion is actually the criminal. I want to be sure he understands that the current bill before the House is not similar to the one that was tabled in the previous session where only reasonable grounds were necessary. This bill actually identifies that it—

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
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3:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I will have to stop the hon. member there to allow the hon. member for Winnipeg North the chance to respond.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
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3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, we do recognize that there have been some significant changes. That is why I am somewhat optimistic with the member's comments in terms of the bill going to committee. We might be able to make it better. We will have to wait and see.

The member said that the government is open to input in general. He will have to excuse me for having a tough time with that comment, especially given such things as the time allocation motion on Bill C-10, which is a crime bill. That bill encompasses eight or nine significant pieces of legislation which could have been separate bills. Very little time was afforded to members for debate.

For members who were first elected a few months back, the chances of having the opportunity to speak to the bill was not there. There was no opportunity for all members to participate fully in the debate. Nor was there an opportunity for governments, such as the governments of Quebec and Ontario, to provide input. British Columbia also has huge concerns in regard to Bill C-10. They did not think the government was doing the job that was needed in answering basic questions such as what the costs will be.

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3:25 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member is quite willing to share his previous experience at the provincial level on dealing with justice issues.

I am of two minds on the bill. There are lots of occasions where we recognize it could be a scenario where a gang is running down the street and knocks down an elderly woman and grabs her purse. People intervene and hold that person until the police arrive. It is done expeditiously and the police are immediately alerted and the people only hang on to the perpetrator until the police arrive.

There might be some concerns with the bill and perhaps at committee we should look at whether it needs to be constrained somewhat. Let me give a couple of examples.

In Summer Village where I have a cottage, we have been unable to have any RCMP or regular police surveillance. The communities do their own surveillance. There have been many occasions when there has been a break-in with some violence. Those are occasions where if the property owner intervened, there might be harm to both parties. Should we be encouraging direct intervention?

There have been a lot of circumstances in Alberta where there has been some level of violence between farmers and land men who are surveying for oil and gas activity. I am wondering if perhaps we should be exploring potential constraints in these scenarios where there may be encouragement to take some level of violence against people who come onto someone's property.

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3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the most important thing is that we recognize that each situation needs to stand on its own merit. There has to be an understanding of the actual situation. In some situations it would be ill-advised for someone even to attempt to make a citizen's arrest. In other situations a citizen's arrest can be executed quite easily. It is the same thing in terms of personal assault. People have to be cognizant of the fact that different situations dictate different responses. I would hope people would use common sense before jumping into something that could get pretty ugly very quickly. I would hope that no one would encourage people to get into such situations where our communities become unsafe or individuals are seriously hurt by inappropriate actions.

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3:25 p.m.

NDP

Sylvain Chicoine Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government introduced Bill C-26, which covers and provides clarification on citizen's arrest. This bill is very similar, identical even, to Bill C-60, which was introduced by the hon. member for Trinity—Spadina during the last Parliament.

The changes made by Bill C-26 will allow citizen's arrests without a warrant within a reasonable period of time. Right now, under section 494(2) of the Criminal Code, a citizen's arrest must be made while the crime is being committed. Bill C-26 also includes changes to the Criminal Code related to self-defence and the defence of property.

Sections 34 to 42 of the Criminal Code pertain to self-defence and the defence of property. Sections 34 to 37 of the Criminal Code are repealed and replaced with a single self-defence provision that applies to any offence. The current distinctions between provoked and unprovoked attacks, as well as any intention to use deadly force, are eliminated.

Bill C-60 also sets out a non-exhaustive list of factors that the court may consider in determining whether the act committed is reasonable under the circumstances. The bill will repeal sections 38 to 42 of the Criminal Code, which pertain to defence of property, and replace them with a single defence of property provision. As a result, the bill will eliminate the current distinction between the defence of personal and real property.

The bill amends the citizen’s arrest section of the Criminal Code, but only section 494(2). Thus, the powers of citizens to make arrests set out in section 494(1) remain as they are. These powers mean that anyone may arrest without warrant a person whom he or she finds to be committing an indictable offence or believes, on reasonable grounds, has committed a criminal offence and is escaping from and freshly pursued by those with lawful authority to arrest that person.

The bill amends section 494(2), which applies to the owner or person in lawful possession of property or a person authorized by the owner or lawful possessor. At present, such a person may arrest without warrant a person whom he or she finds committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property. But the amendment goes on to allow such a person to make an arrest within a reasonable time after the offence is committed. Such an arrest can be made if the person making the arrest believes on reasonable grounds that it is not feasible in the circumstances for a peace officer to make the arrest.

In addition, a new section 494(4) is added to the Criminal Code, clarifying that a person who makes an arrest under section 494 is authorized by law to do so for the purposes of section 25 of the Criminal Code. The purpose of this amendment is to make it clear that use of force is authorized in a citizen’s arrest, but that there are limits on how much force can be used.

The government says that it is bringing forward this bill in order to make necessary changes to the Criminal Code that will clarify the provisions pertaining to self-defence and defence of property. The changes will also clarify the reasonable use of force.

We are very pleased that the Conservative government has decided to clarify the changes to citizen's arrest, especially since we had introduced a similar bill to that end.

Just like the Conservative government, we do not want honest Canadians who are victims of crime to be victimized again by our judicial system.

We support the amendments to the legal provisions on citizen's arrest, particularly because various courts have indicated that there are problems with the interpretation of the law. For example, they have said that the Criminal Code provisions concerning self-defence are too complicated and confusing. The provisions have been subject to much criticism. In R. v. McIntosh, Chief Justice Lamer wrote that sections 34 and 35 “are highly technical, excessively detailed provisions deserving of much criticism. These provisions overlap, and are internally inconsistent in certain respects.”

The judgment of the majority in R. v. McIntosh has been called “highly unfortunate” for further muddying the waters around self-defence provisions.

However, we believe that a more in-depth study will be required, given the complexity of this issue, as the courts have indicated. We must ensure that the bill clarifies the sections of the Criminal Code to help the justice system do its job. We will also have to look at the impact and consequences of this bill to ensure that these clarifications are acceptable to the Canadian public. We want to avoid having the clarifications to the Criminal Code encourage self-proclaimed vigilantes. In addition, we do not want people to put their lives in danger. We know that that is not the objective of this bill. However, a number of concerns about this have been raised by some of our constituents. That is why it will be important to allow parliamentarians to properly discuss this bill in committee.

We are obviously asking the Conservative government not to limit debate in committee, as it did with Bill C-10, for example. Bill C-26 will have serious repercussions on Canadians who must defend themselves or their property. That is why it is so important to properly debate this bill in committee.

I would like to remind the House of the facts that gave rise to the recent legislation on citizen's arrest. On May 23, 2009, David Chen, the owner of a grocery store in Toronto, arrested Anthony Bennett, who had stolen something from his store. After being caught in the act on security cameras, Mr. Bennett went back to the store about an hour later. At that time, the owner and two employees managed to tie Mr. Bennett up and held him in a delivery truck. When the police arrived, they charged Mr. Chen with forcible confinement, kidnapping and carrying an edged weapon—a box cutter, a tool that many merchants have in their possession. The crown attorneys later dropped the charges of kidnapping and carrying an edged weapon, but they maintained the charges of forcible confinement and assault.

According to the Criminal Code as it is currently written, a property owner can make a citizen's arrest only if the alleged wrongdoer is caught in the act. Mr. Chen and his two co-accused were found not guilty of the charges of forcible confinement and assault on October 29, 2010. In August 2009, Anthony Bennett pleaded guilty to theft and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

At present, the citizen’s arrest authority is very limited and is authorized only when an individual is caught in act of committing an offence on or in relation to one's property. Accordingly, this bill authorizes an owner, a person in lawful possession of property—or a person authorized by them—to arrest a person within a reasonable amount of time after having found that person committing a criminal offence on or in relation to their property.

The bill authorizes a citizen’s arrest only when it is not feasible in the circumstances for a police officer to respond, which is often the case in the event of shoplifting, for example. The time it takes for the police to respond is often too long and they arrive much too late. Furthermore, this bill stipulates that the use of force is authorized in a citizen’s arrest. However, a person is not entitled to use excessive force.

In addition, the person making the arrest must take the risk factors into account and ensure that their safety or the safety of others is not threatened. They must also ensure that they have correctly identified the suspect and their criminal conduct. Furthermore, reporting the incident to the police remains the best solution.

I would like to point out that thousands of Canadians work as security guards in buildings or businesses. Many of those guards have told me about the problems they have properly protecting the property of the merchants. They have to catch the criminal in the act and that is not easy. Often, they discover the crime after the fact, after reviewing the security camera footage. However, that is often done after the fact and the security guards cannot take any action against the wrongdoer. The worst part is that some wrongdoers return a number of times to commit theft and the guards hired by the businesses cannot do anything about it even if they saw the individual in question commit a crime before.

They have to again catch the wrongdoer in the act and they cannot arrest him for the previous offence. What is more, the complexity of a citizen's arrest makes security jobs risky. Security guards have to be 100% certain of what they are doing because if they are not, there could be legal consequences for their company and their own job could be on the line. It is very important that the provisions on citizen's arrest be clear so that these security guards are in the best position possible to protect businesses and the property of the merchants.

The new provisions on self-defence will also help these guards enforce the law, because the current provisions are too restrictive. Many security guards have told me that when they intercept an individual who committed a criminal offence, the individual generally becomes aggressive and does not want to be arrested by the security guard on duty. For a number of reasons, that individual will simply be asked to leave the premises, because the guards do not want to risk their safety or the safety of others. They would not want to risk being tried for assault. As a result, the individual who commits the crime gets away with it.

In summary, we support this bill at second reading so that it can be sent to committee and some of its provisions, which are quite complex, can be examined in greater detail. That is why the opinions of experts and legislative drafters will be key in the examination of some provisions of this bill. I would like to emphasize the importance of not limiting the debates, as the Conservative government has a tendency to do. I am asking the Conservative government to let parliamentarians do their job properly.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his speech and for his affirmation that his party will support this bill at second reading and get it to committee for further study. We are definitely open to that idea.

I want to thank him as well for highlighting the key elements that the bill talks about: that an arrest needs to be made within a reasonable amount of time and that there must be reasonable grounds to believe it was not feasible, in the circumstances, for a police officer to make the arrest.

There is one comment that I may have misunderstood in the first part of his speech. I would like clarification, not just for my own purpose but also for people who are listening to this debate, that this bill differs substantially from the private member's bill tabled in the last Parliament, which required only reasonable grounds as the criterion. This bill clearly makes the point that the person must have seen an incident occurring, seen someone committing an offence, and that an arrest must occur within a reasonable period of time. I think it is an important improvement on the previous private member's bill that was tabled. Would my colleague agree?

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3:40 p.m.

NDP

Sylvain Chicoine Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his question.

I agree with his statement to the effect that the citizen must have seen the person committing an offence to be able to arrest him. What I said about probable grounds applies to sections 495 and 499 of the Criminal Code for police officers. It does not really apply to this bill. I agree with the hon. member's statement with regard to citizen's arrest.

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3:40 p.m.

NDP

Mike Sullivan York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question has to do with the nature of the part of the bill that deals with the revisions to the self-defence portions. My concern is that without more clarity in that section, we may end up with potential vigilantism or potential erroneous use of force that would cause harm or damage to people because the bill would apparently give more breadth or power to individuals who believe they are acting in self-defence. Could the member comment?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
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3:40 p.m.

NDP

Sylvain Chicoine Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his question. Some parts of the current bill are indeed vague.

We want to prevent people from using greater force than necessary to make an arrest or defend themselves. Some provisions will have to be clarified in committee. I am not a legislative drafter, but some provisions of the bill seem unclear to me, including the part that the hon. member mentioned. I therefore think that it is very important to hear from legislative drafters and experts in the field in committee to clarify the situation. We do not want people to use more force than necessary in self-defence. It is important to clarify certain provisions in this part of the bill.

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3:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank all my colleagues in the House from all political corners for allowing me to speak to Bill C-26, which deals with changes and amendments to the Criminal Code regarding citizen's arrest and the defences of property and persons.

We have a bill that would streamline in many fashions many of the laws concerning the defence of property which are good and necessary. Some things need to be studied in committee to see if some of the provisions may be a little overbearing. Nonetheless, we do have the responsibility, and I think we are on the right track in dealing with this issue so far as we have evidenced in the media in the past year.

Several incidents took place, one in particular in Toronto. Other members in the House have talked about it so I will leave it at that for now.

The rationale of all this needs to be looked at in a broader context when it comes to self-defence. Self-defence, in many cases, has been used but with a very narrow definition. Other jurisdictions around the world have certainly made better use of it. I would look at it in the context of making it far easier for our court systems, our prosecutors, certainly, and our judges and juries.

In some cases the complex and out of date rules we are talking about were highlighted by recent high profile cases. Primarily the concern is that the old Criminal Code provision concerning self-defence provided that “Every one who is unlawfully assaulted without having provoked the assault is justified in repelling force by force”. Thereby, it is confining self-defence to assault and noting that it could not have been the result of provocation.

The new legislation would remove the assault requirement entirely in speaking of force or threat of force, and also removes provocation. As such the bill may run into some aspects that may be going a little overboard, but nonetheless, it is certainly something we should analyze and discuss at committee. The principal thrust of the bill is one that is just.

People may invoke self-defence, both in common law and under statute itself. It is not as though, without the legislation, there is no right to self-defence in Canada. The legislation would reform and streamline the Criminal Code, which I have mentioned.

In regard to self-defence and defence of property, which is where the emphasis lies on that second part, the concern that should be addressed by committee is whether the Criminal Code would be changed too significantly.

The self-defence provision in section 34 now reads, “Every one who is unlawfully assaulted without having provoked the assault is justified in repelling force by force”. That confines defence to assault, whereas this legislation makes no reference to assault or provocation, for that matter, and it speaks to the force or the threat of force.

Beyond the general risk that the bill may encourage vigilantism, there are concerns just how far the bill broadens itself with self-defence, which can be invoked and by whom it can be invoked.

I know we discussed this in the former bill, which was Bill C-60 in the last Parliament, and it was brought forth as a result of these high profile cases, one of which took place in Toronto.

The current law in Canada discussing self-defence is in section 34 of the Criminal Code, which defines the extent to which force is justified in repelling an unprovoked assault. Subsection 34(1) is a general defence that can be employed only by non-aggressors who never intend to cause grievous bodily harm or death through their actions.

This section requires that the following four elements be established by a person accused of using force against another person: first, the accused was unlawfully assaulted; second, the accused did not provoke the assault; third, the force used by the accused was not intended to cause death or grievous bodily harm; and fourth, the force used by the accused was no more than was necessary to defend himself or herself.

Back to section 34(1) of the Criminal Code. It states:

--permits the accused to stand his or her ground, even when there is a possibility of escaping the situation. The question for the court is whether the force used was necessary to enable the accused to defend him or herself, not whether such a defence was wise in the circumstances.

Let us move on to subsection 34(2), which is interesting. It applies where the accused causes bodily harm or death, whether intentionally or unintentionally, in responding to an assault. Therefore, the accused is justified in using such force where he or she was under a reasonable apprehension of death or grievous bodily harm from the initial or continuing violence of the assault and believed, on reasonable grounds, that he or she must use such force to preserve himself or herself.

Section 35 of the Criminal Code outlines the application of self-defence in those instances where the person seeking to rely on self-defence initiated or provoked the assault. It applies where the accused first assaulted the other person, but without intent to cause death or serious bodily harm. The law permits a limited defence where the response of the person attacked escalates matters and the accused must respond to defend himself or herself.

Therefore, we see the myriad of circumstances that are being painted by all of this and how, by streamlining the legislation, this would certainly make a lot of sense.

The proposed amendments that we are discussing here to the Criminal Code, section 494.1(2) on citizen's arrest, would authorize a private citizen to make an arrest within a reasonable period of time after he or she finds someone committing a criminal offence that occurred on or in relation to property. This power of arrest would only be authorized when there are reasonable grounds to believe that it is not feasible in the circumstances for the arrest to be made by a police officer. Therefore, we must not take it upon ourselves to replace an existing security service that is in charge of maintaining peace and the law.

The reasonable use of force is also stressed in this particular application because it is very important that we outline this in order to make it easier for the courts to interpret, certainly for prosecutors, judges and juries.

It makes it clear in this legislation, by cross-reference to the Criminal Code, that the use of force is authorized in what we know is a citizen's arrest, but there are limits placed on how much force can be used.

In essence, the laws permit the reasonable use of force, taking into account all the circumstances of this particular case. A person is not entitled to use excessive force in a citizen's arrest. Therefore, we see, in this clear parameter that is set out, how this is to be enforced, how reasonable people, if we want to use that test, which we should, are to enact or protect themselves and their property.

Under section 494.(1)(ii), with respect to the current law itself, anyone may arrest a person whom they find committing an indictable offence of a person who, on reasonable grounds, they believe has committed a criminal offence and is escaping from, and freshly pursued by, persons who have lawful authority to arrest that particular person.

If we are caught in that situation where we are defending ourselves or protecting our property, and we are in a situation where we do not know if we have crossed the line in a particular case because we certainly do not want to, hopefully with legislation like this and the lengthy debate that hopefully will follow, we will be able to flesh out an idea as to just how in certain circumstances like this a reasonable person can behave.

A citizen's arrest may, without careful consideration of the risk factors, have serious unintended consequences for those involved. When deciding whether to make a citizen's arrest, a person should be aware of the current law. In the current law there is safety or the safety of others, reporting the information to the police, which is usually the best course of action of course as we all know, instead of individuals just taking action on their own. Therefore, there is also a great deal of responsibility on individuals to notify the authorities in addition to defending themselves or their property.

One must also ensure that they have correctly identified the suspects and their criminal conduct. Therefore, we must be clear of mind on the offence.

Of course, being rational human beings, sometimes rationality takes over and, in particular cases, acts of desperation take place. Nonetheless, in these circumstances, I believe what we need to provide the courts with the ability to interpret and bring justice to the fore so that this particular case can be looked at in the right way. Again, I remind all members in the House that the function there is to provide that type of clarity for judges, prosecutors, and of course juries.

Moving on to the proposed amendments, there are new Criminal Code provisions being proposed to clarify the laws on self-defence and defence of property, so that again the police, prosecutors and the courts can more easily understand and apply the law. Clarifying the law and streamlining statutory defences may assist prosecutors, and certainly the police, in their discretion not to lay a charge or proceed with prosecution if it is found to be excessive.

Amendments to the self-defence provisions would repeal the current complex self-defence provisions I spoke of earlier. In particular, it ranges over four sections. The sections I speak of are sections 34 to 37. This is part of what this bill would do, which is to provide that clarification, certainly in this particular case. As we saw the high profile cases unfold, we realized that discrepancies took place and it was hard to interpret. Therefore, we have done this in a responsible way. When I say “responsible”, it leaves this House, it goes to committee for further study, and that I look forward to seeing.

Amendments to the defence of property provisions would repeal the confusing defence of property language that is now spread over five sections, those being sections 38 to 42. One new defence of property provision would be created, eliminating the many distinctions regarding acts a person can take in defence of different types of property. The new provision would permit a person in “peaceable possession” of a property to commit a reasonable act. Again, that reasonable person test that I spoke of. Therein lies the key to this. The person has been defined as owning a piece of property, a possession, and therefore the spirit of this would assume that the person would be allowed to act accordingly to protect that peaceable property, and for the purpose of protecting that property from being damaged or trespassed upon.

Under sections 34 to 37 of the Criminal Code, distinct defences are provided for people who use force to protect themselves or another from attack, depending on whether they have provoked the attack and whether they intended to use deadly force. Again, I understand that the impacts of this could be severe in many cases. They are in defence of an irrational act and therefore, when in that position, defending their own property or person, under irrational behaviour. It is not an easy circumstance to be in. However, certainly for the sake of the courts dealing with and prosecuting cases like this and coming to a logical conclusion, we must provide that clarity for prosecutors, judges and juries in many of these particular cases.

The use of deadly force is also something we have talked about, both with Bill C-26 and Bill C-60. We realize that the use of deadly force is talked about quite a bit and there is not a great understanding of it, but it is permitted in very exceptional circumstances; for example, where it is necessary to protect a person from death or bodily harm.

The courts have clearly stated that deadly force is never considered reasonable in defence of property alone. The legislative reforms currently being proposed would not make any change to the law relating to deadly force, so the courts would therefore continue to make any necessary changes on a case by case basis, developing the common law if and where applicable. As I mentioned before, this is the common law aspect and also the statutory law.

There are some issues that have been raised by stakeholders. Many people remember the high profile media reports that came from many cases where self-defence was used, not just for the right of individuals but also for property, as I mentioned in the high profile case that took place in Toronto. One of the issues that came up was that of encouraging vigilantism. People have been sounding the alarm bells over that and it is something that needs to be discussed and filtered when it comes to committee.

In principle, I think we are on the right track here, but certainly this is something that has to be of great concern. Obviously there are legal minds far greater than mine, as I have no formal training in law, so I look forward to hearing some of the witness testimony that will come at committee regarding the particular ways in which this could be abused. Nonetheless, I am sure that potential witnesses would agree that the intent here is to make this a clear, decisive law that allows our courts to function, and to prosecute any particular cases where the defence of one's self or property pertains.

A Canadian press article notes that “Several provinces have complained the new legislation will cost them millions as jail and prison populations inevitably rise”. That is a debate we have had here before. It is an extension of Bill C-10. I have mentioned this before in my deliberations about Bill C-10 and I will not go into it further.

A lot of the provinces have complained that they are now in a position where the incarceration of individuals and the increased rate of incarceration will have an effect on how they handle their budgets and how they spend money on health care and education. That applies to people who are sentenced to less than two years. We have heard from several provinces over the past little while that this could be particularly onerous for them in light of some of the budget deficits that they want to downgrade.

Section 35 of the Criminal Code outlines the application of self-defence in those instances where persons seeking to rely on self-defence initiated or provoked the assault. That is an important part of this. This is the part of the Criminal Code that we need to consider.

Other criteria apply is that the defender did not at any time before the need to protect himself or herself from death or bodily harm endeavour to cause the death or bodily harm. There is an obligation upon the defender to decline further conflict and leave or retreat as far as is feasible before the need to defend from death or bodily harm arises. This could be contentious in many forms.

As I reiterated earlier, I believe there is a case here in principle and scope for us to push this legislation forward, send it to committee and take notice of potential witness testimony, so we are able to change legislation if need be by amendments and make the necessary changes to the Criminal Code regarding the defence of oneself and the defence of property. We can do this for the efficiency of our courts.

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4 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I always enjoy the presentations by the hon. member from my grandfather's homeland.

The hon. member made reference to a clause, which I cannot find in the bill. He may have been simply describing a situation. He referenced “escaping from”, that the property owner is able to intervene and arrest or take some action against the person who the owner has reasonable grounds to believe is illegally doing something and that the action is allowed if that person is “escaping from”.

Could the member clarify that. If those words are in the bill, they may be a bit of a problem because someone could be caught in the act, but not actually escape from the scene? Could he elaborate on that?