House of Commons Hansard #140 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was code.

Topics

Business of the House
Government Orders

6:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of the House
Government Orders

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Business of the House
Government Orders

6:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of the House
Government Orders

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

(Motion agreed to)

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-60, 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
Government Orders

6:20 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I know that my colleague did some important work on this issue, along with my colleague from Trinity—Spadina, when Mr. Chen's situation came to the attention of members in the House.

My hon. colleague quite rightfully identified the absolute injustice of the store owner finding himself charged after doing nothing more than apprehend someone who had been continually robbing him. This was due to the Criminal Code's peculiar wording at the time, which basically said that one could only apprehend a person if that person was caught in the commission of an offence.

The private member's bills of my colleague from Trinity—Spadina and the hon. member sought to cure that situation by extending the time period for citizen's arrest to a reasonable period of time.

How does my hon. colleague feel about the other provisions the government has seen fit to introduce into this legislation which go far beyond that and actually alter the law by codifying the defence of property and defence of persons provisions? Does he think it might be better to simply deal with the original problem that was caused by the Chen situation and pass that legislation instead of dealing with other sections of the bill which we really do not know what the implications would be?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

6:20 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I suspect that the S.H. government does not know either and that is why it has thrown it all into this package. It does not have any intention of passing this package at all.

All one has to do is take a look at what that same minister for propaganda did in September 2009. He speaks out against the courts that deal with immigration issues. He rails against judges. This sort of thing would never happen anywhere else. The member is right. This should be about store owners, property owners, like David Chen.

I am sure the hon. member would agree that what should happen is, first of all, the government should apologize to David Chen for having used him as a prop not once, not twice, not three times, but now a fourth time.

Second, it should pay him for all of his expenses for having forced him to go through such a situation.

The government could have pronounced itself, the way it is doing now, and the way it has done through the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism on other occasions on other issues. The government pulls back to say that it is sub judice, but it does not do it when it is inconvenient.

Third, it should give an indication to all the courts that the David Chen case and the decision on the definition of reasonableness by that judge is the standard upon which people will base their decisions when going to court again.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

6:20 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, like my colleague from the NDP, I also want to recognize and congratulate the member for Eglinton—Lawrence who has done so much on this file. He has brought this issue to the chamber through question period on a number of different occasions and has continued to pursue it with great vigilance.

My colleague is an experienced member of this chamber. Is this another missed opportunity by the Conservative regime? It had a chance to get it right with the bill, but instead lumped a number of other issues around it and in doing so may be missing an opportunity.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for recognizing some of the work that I have done with the co-operation of my caucus colleagues. It is always nice to receive that pat on the back.

However, as I said earlier, this is really about David Chen and what he has been forced to do for all Canadians to demonstrate that the system works. If the law does not work in a situation like his, in an egregious fashion, then the law must be changed. That is what was behind those two opposition private members' bills and their intent.

What the government bill does is it says that those were good ideas but that it was not its idea so it will not do it and to ensure it does not do it, it will add so many very specific things that there will be a court challenge on every one of the definitions that it wants to put in place because it does not believe in them either. That is the government's attitude. All one has to do is read the intervention of the Minister of Justice in the House. He said, “We had a solution in 2009; we just didn't implement it”.

Why not? Justice delayed and justice put off is justice denied. That is his true--

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

Resuming debate. The hon. member for Nanaimo—Cowichan will have about three or four minutes before I will move on to adjournment proceedings.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

March 7th, 2011 / 6:25 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-60. I know others have outlined this but I want to put it once more on the record. What we have here is a government bill that is a result of some of the very good work that the member for Trinity—Spadina had done.

The member for Trinity—Spadina had introduced a private member's bill, Bill C-565, and we have talked about it already. It was as a result of an incident in a convenience store called the Lucky Moose in Toronto where the owner apprehended an individual who had stolen from the store some time after the theft had taken place.

I know other members in this House have spoken about the challenges for small business owners in this country to make a living. When a small business owner, who is trying very hard to make a living, has a theft, it is a huge problem, and we have somebody who is trying to prevent that theft from happening and he is apprehended.

Bill C-60, unfortunately, went far beyond the scope of what the member for Trinity—Spadina had introduced in Bill C-565. I know the member for Windsor—Tecumseh has done a very good job of outlining the much broader scope of the bill and the challenges with it. I want to focus on one particular aspect of the bill, which is clause 3.

Clause 3 of the bill states:

3. (1) Subsection 494(2) of the Act is replaced by the following:

The owner or a person in lawful possession of property, or a person authorized by the owner or by a person in lawful possession of property, may arrest a person without a warrant if they find them committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property and

they make the arrest at that time; or

they make the arrest within a reasonable time after the offence is committed and they believe on reasonable grounds that it is not feasible in the circumstances for a peace officer to make the arrest.

One would wonder why the Conservative government did not simply take that one part of the bill and put it into a piece of legislation that this House could rapidly pass. That would have dealt with the situation at the Lucky Moose.

Instead of ensuring that the House could discuss it and refer it to committee and get it passed, the government has needlessly complicated the legislation. It could have introduced two separate bills: one to deal with the situation at the Lucky Moose and one to deal with the other issues that it has brought forward.

The member for Windsor—Tecumseh has talked about the fact that there could be unintended consequences and it is incumbent upon us in this House to study those consequences.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member will have seven minutes to conclude her speech the next time this bill is before the House.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

6:30 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government pretends to care about ending the devastatingly high rates of violence that aboriginal face but Conservative actions prove otherwise.

Budget 2010 promised $10 million to address the disturbingly high number of missing and aboriginal women. The government said that concrete actions would be taken so that law enforcement and the justice system meet the needs of aboriginal women and their families, but $4 million of the $10 million is going to help set up an RCMP missing persons database that will not be ready until 2013.

The government does not recognize the urgency. There are more than 600 missing and murdered aboriginal women. Action needs to be taken now. Sisters in Spirit was one project that was working and now is hobbled by a new name and restrictive conditions. Sisters in Spirit made headway where no other project did and although Evidence to Action (Phase 2) did receive funding, no research or advocacy activities are allowed. It was the research and advocacy that compelled the government to finally pay attention.

More than 600 women have been murdered or have gone missing and, incredibly, until Sisters in Spirit compiled the data, the Government of Canada did nothing to address this travesty. Sisters in Spirit gave families and friends of the victims a voice. It gave them hope that finally someone was listening.

These women were mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters, aunties and nieces. Sisters in Spirit gave a voice to these families and now that voice has been taken away because the funding has ended. There will be a serious gap between the data collected by Sisters in Spirit and the RCMP database due to the three year delay and it is unclear how the RCMP database will capture the same data as Sisters in Spirit did. The Sisters in Spirit data was vital in illustrating the cross jurisdictional pattern of disappearances and murders and gave proof of the crisis that aboriginal women face in Canada.

I would ask that the minister and the Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women advocate and push the government to continue to fund Sisters in Spirit so its important work to end violence against aboriginal women can continue. Aboriginal women in Canada have been waiting too long. Will the members opposite finally make it a priority and stop playing games with the lives of aboriginal women? Will the government fund Sisters in Spirits so it can continue its important work?

Aboriginal women need a government that is willing to give them a voice and to take action. They need a government that is willing to work to finally end the violence. Will the minister and the Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women stand up for aboriginal women and advocate on their behalf in cabinet? Will they ask for funding so that Sisters in Spirit can continue its all important work?

6:30 p.m.

Beauport—Limoilou
Québec

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member opposite for once again giving me the opportunity to correct certain facts regarding the government's response to the important issue of missing aboriginal women. We have taken concrete action. As I have already said, victims are much too important an issue for us to be playing political games. Some young girls and women have paid with their lives and their families are now devastated by grief.

First, I would like to speak about the concrete action that is being financed with the $10 million. On October 29, 2010, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and the Minister for Status of Women reiterated our government's commitment to this important issue.

Practical measures have been put in place to improve law enforcement and the justice system and to help the organizations responsible respond better in cases involving missing and murdered aboriginal women. Here are a few examples.

Creation of a national police support centre for missing persons to help Canada's police forces coordinate missing persons investigations and provide specialized support.

Creation of a web site where the public can provide tips related to missing persons cases to help police services across Canada obtain more in-depth information.

Improvement of the Canadian Police Information Centre data base in order to input more data on missing persons.

Our government has said repeatedly that this is a complex matter and that we must work in close co-operation with our provincial and territorial partners, with agencies and most importantly, with aboriginal communities, in order to develop appropriate solutions to better target the actions taken.

The final practical measure has been to identify changes to the Criminal Code to make it easier to get warrants and court orders for investigations.

Those are the concrete actions taken by a government that is very aware of the problems facing aboriginal women. This is the first time in the history of Canada that a government is implementing a system of this kind. No one has ever really taken care of aboriginal women before. This government is the one that apologized to the First Nations. We are working hard to make sure these women are acknowledged and taken care of.