Appropriation Act No. 3, 2004-2005

An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of Canada for the financial year ending March 31, 2005

This bill was last introduced in the 38th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in November 2005.

Sponsor

Reg Alcock  Liberal

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Message from the SenateRoyal Assent

December 15th, 2004 / 5:20 p.m.
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The Speaker

I have the honour to inform the House that when the House did attend the Honourable the Deputy to Her Excellency the Governor General in the Senate chamber, Her Honour was pleased to give, in Her Majesty's name, the royal assent to the following bills:

Bill S-10, a second act to harmonize federal law with the civil law of the Province of Quebec and to amend certain acts in order to ensure that each language version takes into account the common law and the civil law--Chapter 25.

Bill C-5, an act to provide financial assistance for post-secondary education savings--Chapter 26.

Bill C-34, an act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of Canada for the financial year ending March 31, 2005--Chapter 27.

Bill C-35, an act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of Canada for the financial year ending March 31, 2005--Chapter 28.

Supplementary Estimates (A)Government Orders

December 9th, 2004 / 11:25 p.m.
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Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

moved:

That Bill C-35, an act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of Canada for the financial year ending March 31, 2005, be now read a first time and be printed.

(Motion deemed adopted and bill read the first time)

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

November 2nd, 2004 / 10:25 a.m.
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Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today on Bill C-13, which has been introduced by the government. In this day and age, political discourse is often focused on the respect of human rights and freedoms, and I agree with that. We have taken part in some debates that illustrate this, the one on same sex marriage in particular.

It is also important to note that individual rights encompass individual security. In a society based on rule of law, such as ours, the right to personal security is essential. If this is to be more than merely theoretical, and to exist in reality, it is important to provide law enforcement bodies with the tools necessary to fight the crime that so often harms our communities.

The Bloc Québécois will be supporting Bill C-13. We feel that it will provide police officers with more effective investigative tools, which should permit them to resolve more crimes.

Members have examined this bill with care and will have realized that it makes some rather technical amendments to legislation already in place. When the bill is examined in committee, the Bloc Québécois will ensure that the changes proposed represent real improvements to the existing system of DNA testing. In addition, the Bloc Québécois will ensure that the RCMP has the funds to accommodate the expansion of the DNA bank this bill will bring about.

To make a small aside, it is all very fine to announce measures, measures we support, but there must be money attached to them. As hon. members are aware, the RCMP has decided—for financial reasons, or so we are told—to close detachments in numerous locations in Quebec. There has been much opposition to this, from mayors, municipal counsellors and reeves, backed up of course, as is only natural, by myself and my colleagues in the Bloc Québécois.

It does not, therefore, make any sense to talk of increasing the responsibilities, as well as the operating costs, of a police force, the RCMP, while making cuts here and there, including cutting police detachments scattered outside the urban centres.

And so I hope the government will reverse its decision to close these detachments. I believe my hon. colleague's riding of Joliette is affected by the RCMP detachment closures. I know that the mayor, municipal officials and prefect have made him aware of the situation. It is the same in Saint-Hyacinthe. I hope the RCMP will reverse its decision. If it wants to fight crime effectively, the force must be present throughout the area.

Having finished my aside, I return to Bill C-13, which takes up for the most part the provisions of Bill C-35 from the last legislature, the bill to which the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice has referred.

Bill C-13 amends the provisions in the Criminal Code respecting the taking of bodily substances for forensic DNA analysis and the inclusion of DNA profiles in the national DNA data bank. It also makes related amendments to the DNA Identification Act and National Defence Act.

I have five minutes left. That is a very short time to address such a technical bill. That is why we are going to examine it very seriously in committee.

Bill C-13 makes other amendments, which ought at least to be listed in the parliamentary record of debates. It adds offences to the list of designated offences in the Criminal Code for which a judge is required to make an order for the collection of a DNA sample from the offender, unless the offender can convince the court otherwise.

It adds offences to the list of designated offences for which an order for the collection of a DNA sample can be made if the prosecutor so requests and the court agrees.

It provides for the making of DNA data bank orders against a person whohas committed a designated offence but who was found not criminallyresponsible by reason of mental disorder. This ties in somewhat with the subject matter of Bill C-10, which we are also working on.

It creates new provisions for the making of DNA data bank orders against a person who committed one murder and one sexual offence at different times before June 30, 2000, when the legislation on the DNA data bank came into force.

It provides for the review of defective DNA data bank orders and for the destruction of the bodily substances taken under them.

It allows the destruction ofthe bodily substances of offenders who are finally acquitted of a designated offence.

It compels offenders to appear at a certain time and place to provide a DNA sample.

It allows for a DNA data bank order to be made after sentencing.

Finally, it makes related amendments to the National Defence Act to ensure that the military justice system remains consistent with the civilian justice system.

So, this bill proposes many things. I must say that we are somewhat uncomfortable with the retroactive provisions included in this legislation and we hope they will dissipate with the review in committee. Obviously, any retroactive provision, particularly in the criminal justice area, raises serious issues relating to rights and freedoms and to the charters, whether it is the Quebec or Canadian one. In this regard, we are anxious to hear the witnesses and experts, who will tell us whether the bill does indeed respect the charters.

We also wonder why the bill adds participation in the activities of a criminal organization to the list of secondary designated offences, that is to the list of offences for which the taking of a DNA sampling is not mandatory, but optional. We wonder why such offences were not included in the list of primary designated offences. This is an issue on which we want to get an answer as quickly as possible.

All to say this is a very technical bill and it requires a thorough study of its provisions. At this stage, the Bloc Québécois supports its referral to a committee. We will work very seriously, as we always do, to ensure that, on the one hand, enforcement agencies have the necessary tools to fight effectively criminal activities in which the public is all too often the victim, and, on the other hand—and this is important in a society such as ours—to ensure that the rights and freedoms of the accused are respected. As I said earlier, the whole issue of retroactivity will also have to be thoroughly examined.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

November 1st, 2004 / 5:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Gurmant Grewal Conservative Newton—North Delta, BC

Madam Speaker, congratulations on your appointment. It is nice to see you in the chair.

I am very pleased to rise today on behalf of the constituents of Newton--North Delta to participate in the debate on Bill C-13, an act to amend the Criminal Code, the DNA Identification Act and the National Defence Act.

In 1998 Bill C-3 enacted a national DNA data bank. The data bank officially opened on July 5, 2000. Bill C-35 in May 2004 introduced minor amendments to the act and now Bill C-13 adds further amendments which still do not address the concerns that I and my colleagues have raised. I have raised them in many speeches in the past.

The bill seeks to strengthen the laws regarding DNA collection and storage. Specifically, it adds more Criminal Code offences, moving some offences from the secondary designated offences list to the primary list. It allows DNA collection from a mentally disordered criminal, expands retroactive provisions, compels an offender to provide a sample, allows an order for a DNA sample after sentencing, and of course, permits the destruction of a sample.

Looking into the background, DNA identification, if used to its full potential, could be the single most important development in fighting crime since the introduction of fingerprints. However, police and provincial attorneys general have long argued that the legislation as enacted denied law enforcement agencies the full use of this wonderful technology.

The DNA Identification Act came into force in June 2000 and established the national DNA data bank which is operated by the RCMP. It allows judges to order the collection of DNA samples from convicted offenders and have the resulting profile stored in a convicted offenders index.

The national DNA data bank also includes a crime scene index containing profiles of DNA samples collected from crime scenes. This allows samples from various crime scenes to be compared with the convicted offenders index.

The act created two types of offences: primary and secondary. Primary designated offences are those which are the most serious, such as sexual offences, murder and manslaughter. Secondary designated offences are less serious, such as an assault or arson. Of course they are serious too but it depends on how one judges them.

For primary offences a DNA sample can be ordered by the court, unless the offender can prove it is not needed. For secondary offences a sample can be ordered if the judge believes it is needed.

Law enforcement agencies are critical of this legislation because, among other reasons, it does not allow for the taking of DNA samples at the time of charge, as fingerprints are. Also it does not permit samples to be taken retroactively from incarcerated criminals other than designated dangerous offenders, multiple sex offenders and multiple murderers.

Unfortunately while Bill C-13 offers some improvements on the original legislation, it does not address many of the concerns raised by police, the provincial attorneys general and the official opposition.

Specifically Bill C-13 does not address the requirement for a judicial order to make a data bank authorization for any offence committed before the law came into force in June 2000.

Police have also asked for the ability to collect a DNA sample at the time of charge, as is done with fingerprints, instead of upon conviction. There is no evidence or jurisprudence suggesting that such provisions would be in violation of the Constitution.

Another major flaw in the bill is that it does not provide for DNA collection upon conviction for all indictable offences, again as in the case of fingerprints.

An additional concern is the ability of a convicted offender to appeal to the court in order to prevent the collection of DNA. The DNA collection should flow automatically upon conviction. This is simply one more unnecessary impediment to effective law enforcement.

Furthermore, the DNA testing system is so backlogged that until sufficient resources are provided, any legislative changes made will not be meaningful. This legislation still does not address the issue of timely production of DNA results to bring dangerous offenders to justice and to ensure the safety of our communities. We need better tools.

For more than a decade the government has failed to provide law enforcement agencies with the tools and resources they need to effectively fight crime. In my riding of Newton—North Delta, marijuana grow ops, organized crime and gang violence are flourishing. Many murders have been committed in the vicinity and remain unsolved.

Past cuts to the RCMP by the government have only served to exacerbate matters. The Canadian Police Association says that the RCMP needs an immediate $250 million cash infusion, but news stories indicate the Liberal government is now considering another $100 million cut. It is shameful. This is just another demonstration of Liberal misplaced priorities.

What does it mean in real terms? Consider as an example Project Snowball. This massive RCMP probe into Canada's largest child pornography investigation tracked more than 2,000 Canadians, including 406 in British Columbia, among them 23 in my constituency in Surrey, suspected of possessing and distributing sexually explicit pictures of children. Remarkably, in over two years we have arrested less than 5% of those suspects. Many police forces in Canada still could not take any action, despite getting a list of suspects in January 2001. They simply do not have the resources nor the officers who are trained to do the job.

Project Snowball also underscored the lack of cooperation between the federal, provincial and municipal police forces in such major investigations. Police say that national cooperation is a nightmare, blaming a lack of resources, a lack of a coordinated national strategy, and laws that exact too light a sentence on pedophiles.

Police also need more help from the courts. They are fed up with the revolving door judicial system. Police work is frequently frustrated when officers are rearresting over and over the same criminals while they are on parole, house arrest and other largely ineffective court sanctions. That is shameful. There must be stiffer penalties for criminals, especially those with lengthy records or those who have committed violent crimes. While some criminals can be rehabilitated, others simply need to be taken off our streets. They should be behind bars.

Canadian police have a daunting task when battling child pornography. It is estimated that more than 100,000 child porn websites are on the worldwide web. This is a serious issue. I have lots of data I could share, but time is short.

Clifford Olson confessed to murdering 11 children. Around 55 women were murdered in British Columbia. All may have been saved if the DNA data bank had been established long ago and the police had more and better resources.

In conclusion, law enforcement must become a higher priority for the federal government. It is our collective responsibility as elected representatives in Parliament to make laws that have teeth. The onus is on the Liberal government to introduce meaningful legislation and accept important, meaningful amendments. So what if they come from the official opposition?

Bill C-13 does not go far enough in addressing the concerns my colleagues and I have raised. Ineffective legislation is good for nothing. This legislation must be strengthened and must be able to provide a powerful tool to fight crime in our communities.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

November 1st, 2004 / 4:40 p.m.
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Charlottetown P.E.I.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to the motion to send Bill C-13 to committee before second reading. Bill C-13 is nearly identical to Bill C-35 that was tabled in the House last May but died on the order paper. At that time all parties, while naturally reserving their position until they heard from the witnesses in committee, expressed general support for the use of DNA and favoured referring this bill to committee.

Bill C-13 contains proposed amendments to the Criminal Code, the DNA Identification Act and the National Defence Act, intended to clarify and strengthen the present regime concerning the taking a bodily substances for the purposes of the national DNA data bank.

I expect the committee will be paying close attention to the proposed changes to the list of designated offences. This is appropriate and is to be expected. Indeed, the expansion of the list to include such grave offences as sexual exploitation of a person with a disability, Internet luring of a child and extortion will, I am sure, be welcomed by all members of the House.

However, I intend to focus my remarks today on those legislative amendments in the bill that will address the procedural problems with the legislation. These changes are very important. They are not glamorous, and a lot of people watching this on CPAC may find them boring, but they are welcomed by police and the courts who have to make the legislation work on the ground each and every day.

The bill responds to a series of issues that had been raised primarily by the provinces. As members know provincial crown prosecutors and police deal with this legislation in the courts each and every day. Many of these proposed changes were recommended by the Uniform Law Conference of Canada which includes representatives of the defence bar and some judges, as well as provincial and federal justice officials.

They identified three problems that had to be fixed. First, there was no method to compel the offender to attend in court at a hearing to determine whether a DNA data bank order should be made. The existing legislation contemplates that a DNA order will be made at the same time as sentences is imposed. For various reasons, that is not always possible, but there is a danger that, if the judge imposes sentence but delays consideration of whether or not to make a DNA order, the judge may actually lose jurisdiction over the accused or the offender.

Bill C-13 specifically provides the following:

The court may set a date and time for a subsequent hearing to determine whether to make the order. The court retains jurisdiction over the matter and may compel the attendance at the hearing of any person who may be subject to the order.

Second, a process was sought that would permit a judge to make a second DNA data bank order where the national DNA data bank had declined to process the first one because of a police error in completing the forms that must accompany the bodily substances submitted for analysis.

The present legislation only allows the Crown to seek another order where a DNA sample cannot be derived from the sample of bodily fluids. However, there may have been problems in filling out the forms or in the identification of the accused. It could be that the bar codes were mixed up. It is vitally important that these offenders should have their DNA profiles in the DNA data bank despite these problems.

Bill C-13 will permit an application to be made for re-sampling. As the House can appreciate, these are highly technical, but important amendments.

Finally, a way was sought to require the offender to appear for the purpose of providing a DNA sample. The legislation currently requires that a sample be taken at the time the order is made but in many cases this is not possible. The police cannot have a trained officer attending all the court houses in the land at all times in case a DNA order is made. Accordingly, Bill C-13 allows for the judge to set a time and place for the sample to be taken and it provides for a warrant to arrest the offender if he does not show up.

These are not the only procedural changes made in this legislation. There are new provisions regarding the process when an offender is ordered to provide a DNA sample, but the offender's DNA profile is already in the data bank.

As well, the legislation was originally drafted on the basis that the convicted offenders' bodily substances would be analyzed in the regions and the profiles sent to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police data bank.

In fact, it was subsequently decided to have all analysis done here in Ottawa so that there are several provisions of the Criminal Code and DNA Identification Act that require amendment to clarify that the samples of bodily substances taken in execution of an order are transmitted along with a copy of that order, or authorization, and any other materials required under regulations to the RCMP for forensic DNA analysis, and that the results of this analysis are then to be entered into the convicted offenders' index of the national DNA data bank index.

There is as well an important new procedure which is necessary to address a problem that no one could have envisaged when this legislation was originally passed; namely, the making of DNA orders when there is no authority under law to do so.

Under the Criminal Code judges have only been authorized to make DNA data bank orders against offenders convicted of a designated Criminal Code offence. A DNA data bank order authorizes the police to take samples of bodily substances from a convicted offender for the purposes of the national DNA data bank. After the samples are collected, the police forward them, along with a copy of the judge's order, to the national DNA data bank in Ottawa.

Under procedures already established by the Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who is responsible for the operation of this data bank, before the samples of bodily substances taken from a convicted offender are subjected to forensic DNA analysis, the DNA order, the original order issued by the judge, is examined to verify that it in fact relates to a designated offence.

Since the DNA data bank legislation came into force almost four years ago, approximately 500 DNA data bank act orders have been made against persons who, according to the information that appeared on the face of the order, do not appear to have been convicted of a designated offence. These are referred as facially defective DNA data bank act orders.

There is a need, and this is corrected in this legislation, to create a procedure to have these defective DNA bank act orders reviewed to determine whether the error, on the face of the document, is either a procedural error or a substantive error. If it is a procedural error, it can then be corrected and the bodily samples analyzed. If it is a substantive error, then the court lacks the authority to make the order and the Commissioner of the RCMP then goes on to destroy the bodily substances obtained under the faulty orders.

I want to say a few words about the procedures set out in the proposed legislation to ensure only those DNA samples that are taken in conformity with the will of Parliament are analyzed.

There would be a duty imposed on the commissioner by virtue of Bill C-13 to review the information transmitted to him, along with the DNA sample taken from a convicted offender, to ensure that the offence referred to in the DNA data bank order is a designated offence.

I understand that this bill has been discussed with the provinces and the provinces all agree. I believe it is incumbent now upon this House to refer the bill to the appropriate committee, the justice committee. At that point in time it will certainly be analyzed by all members of the committee. I urge the passing of this motion.