Unborn Victims of Crime Act

An Act to amend the Criminal Code (injuring or causing the death of an unborn child while committing an offence)

This bill was last introduced in the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in September 2008.

Sponsor

Ken Epp  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

Not active, as of March 5, 2008
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Criminal Code by making it an offence to injure, cause the death of or attempt to cause the death of a child before or during its birth while committing or attempting to commit an offence against the mother.

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.

Votes

March 5, 2008 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Unborn Victims of Crime ActOral Questions

April 28th, 2008 / 2:35 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the National Assembly of Quebec, women's groups and the Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec are speaking out against Bill C-484. More than 25,000 people have signed the petition on the specialists' web site calling for the rejection of this bill that could reopen the debate on the recriminalization of abortion.

Will the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages prevail upon her colleagues and convince them not to vote for such a bill?

Unborn Victims of Crime ActStatements By Members

April 28th, 2008 / 1:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Ken Epp Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am really sad that the debate on my private member's bill, Bill C-484, has been so focused lately on misrepresentation of the facts. This is a totally pro-choice bill in the true meaning of that phrase. It explicitly does not apply to elective abortion. It applies to a woman who wants to have a baby.

There is a serious gap in the law that allows a criminal to violently take that choice and the child she wants away from her, against her will, without her consent, and with violence.

People who support this bill understand the difference between a woman who goes to a doctor or clinic and says, “I'm pregnant and I don't want to be. Please help me”, and the woman who is lying on the floor while being attacked with a fist, boot, knife, sword or gun, who is crying, screaming and pleading for her life, and the life of the unborn child that she wants.

Detractors of Bill C-484 can stand with the assailant if they wish, but I am standing with and for the woman and the child that she wants.

Bill C-484Oral Questions

April 17th, 2008 / 2:50 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Fédération des femmes du Québec and the Fédération du Québec pour le planning des naissances are again stating their opposition to Bill C-484, because it represents a real threat to the right to abortion. While the women's movement is mobilizing across Quebec and Canada, the Minister of Status of Women is doing nothing.

Will the minister stop hiding behind excuses, such as saying that it is a free vote? Will she do her job and defend women?

JusticeOral Questions

April 16th, 2008 / 2:45 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, Pro-Life is boasting that Bill C-484 is a triumph that could recognize fetal rights. It is very clear that the Conservatives' old reformist slant is resurfacing, and that it was with an eye to an election that the Prime Minister did not show up to vote on the second reading of this bill.

Why is the Minister of Justice allowing the debate about a woman's right to abortion to be re-opened via the back door and under false pretenses?

JusticeOral Questions

April 16th, 2008 / 2:40 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, Conservative Bill C-484 is creating some serious concerns in Quebec. The Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec, the Fédération des femmes du Québec and the Confédération des syndicats nationaux are speaking out against this bill that would throw open the door for the recriminalization of abortion.

Instead of hiding behind false pretenses and saying that it is a free vote, will the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages finally assume her responsibilities and defend women so that this regressive bill will never pass?

Unborn Victims of CrimePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

April 15th, 2008 / 10 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Ken Epp Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am once again very pleased, honoured and humbled to present petitions in the House that have been brought here by thousands of people. I now have well over 20,000 names on petitions in support of Bill C-484. These people recognize that there is a difference between a woman who wants to end her pregnancy and one who does not and wants to have the right both to have the child and to have her choice protected in law.

These people, around 1,200 of them today, are asking that Parliament enact Bill C-484, which provides protection for women and for their unborn children, which they want.

Unborn Victims of Crime ActPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

April 14th, 2008 / 3:05 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition on behalf of a number of constituents in the St. Catharines and Niagara community in regard to Bill C-484. The member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park also introduced a petition, and I would like to do the same.

Unborn Victims of Crime ActPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

April 14th, 2008 / 3:05 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Ken Epp Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured, once again, to rise to present petitions from across the country on Bill C-484, the unborn victims of crime act.

The petitioners recognize that when a pregnant woman is wanting to bring her pregnancy to term and to give life and birth to her child, that no one has the right to take that choice and that child away from her.

Therefore, I am presenting today some 1,500 additional names on two petitions, and I am very honoured to do that. I appreciate the support from Saskatchewan, Weyburn, Spy Hill, Langenburg, Assiniboia, Saskatoon, and then from St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saint John, New Brunswick and Sydney, Nova Scotia. The bulk of these names come from there. Support is right across the country.

Unborn Victims of CrimePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

April 9th, 2008 / 3:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Ken Epp Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured again to present petitions that support Bill C-484, the unborn victims of crime act, which I have introduced. In this particular case, I am adding just a few short of 1,300 additional names on this petition.

These petitioners are, like the vast majority of Canadians, supportive of legislation that would recognize unborn children as victims when they are injured or killed during the commission of an offence against the mother.

April 8th, 2008 / 4 p.m.
See context

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Art Hanger

--which updates the Youth Criminal Justice Act; the impaired driving study report; or private members' bills, BillC-426, Bill C-484, Bill S-207, and Bill S-213, which have been referred to this committee.

I would like to turn everyone's attention to a recent and most unprecedented statement by the Speaker of the House, which is aimed directly at our committee.

Unborn Victims of CrimePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

April 7th, 2008 / 6:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Bradley Trost Conservative Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure today to present a petition signed almost exclusively by my constituents. They drew up the petition before Bill C-484 was introduced, but that is essentially what they are supporting. In particular, the petitioners are calling on Parliament to enact legislation to recognize unborn children as separate victims when they are injured or killed during the commission of an offence. As this House has voted upon it, it is a timely petition.

Unborn Victims of CrimePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

April 7th, 2008 / 6:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Ken Epp Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour and the privilege of presenting yet another handful of petitions, this time a little smaller. It is under a thousand names at 738, but they come in every day from people right across the country who recognize the target of Bill C-484, that is, to protect the right of a woman who chooses to have a child to have that right, that choice, and to have the baby protected in law. There is support from Surrey, Terrace and Richmond in British Columbia and from a number of other places in the country.

Unborn Victims of CrimePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

April 4th, 2008 / 12:10 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Ken Epp Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured today to present yet another handful of signatures that are in support of Bill C-484, my private member's bill, which would provide for criminal sanctions against someone who would attack a pregnant woman and thereby injure or cause the death of her unborn child. This petition has a total of almost 2,500 signatures.

The petitioners urge that this bill be passed.

That brings a total number of names now presented to 17,547 in the House.

Unborn Victims of CrimePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

April 4th, 2008 / 12:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Liberal Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I have two petitions from constituents in Miramichi.

All petitioners are very much concerned with assaults on pregnant women. They ask the House to give speedy passage to Bill C-484.

Budget Implementation Act, 2008Government Orders

April 4th, 2008 / 10:35 a.m.
See context

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

The Conservative government, I mean, has ignored the appeals for assistance from farmers and forestry workers who have been the victims of an unprecedented income crisis.

Another one of the Bloc's demands that comes up often has to do with employment insurance. The Bloc Québécois was calling for the creation of an independent employment insurance fund and for significant improvements to the plan. In particular, we were calling on the government to implement a minimum eligibility threshold of 360 hours for all regions and all claimants. Under this minimum eligibility threshold, however, claimants would be eligible for a varying number of weeks of benefits, based on the unemployment rate in their region. We also called on the government to lengthen the benefit period by five weeks for all regions, regardless of the number of hours required to qualify. The maximum number of weeks of benefits would go from 45 to 50 weeks. Furthermore, we wanted the rate of benefits to be increased from 55% to 60%.

What do we have in the Conservative budget? The budget provides for a new crown corporation, the Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board, which will report to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development.

This board will be responsible for managing a separate bank account. Each year, any employment insurance fund surplus will be saved and invested until it is needed to cover the program costs.

Moreover, as of 2009, a new rate-setting mechanism will be put in place. It will take into account any surpluses or deficits so that income and expenses balance out over the years. The rates set by the board cannot fluctuate more than 15% in a given year, in order to ensure a stable rate.

In addition, the government plans on maintaining a balance of $2 billion in the bank account of the Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board.

As we can see, the Conservatives have finally bowed to one Bloc demand and will stop pillaging the employment insurance fund. The Bloc Québécois believes that instead of creating a new crown corporation, the mandate of the employment insurance commission could have been amended. The Bloc Québécois believes that creating an independent fund should improve the plan and not just reduce contributions.

In addition, the Conservative government is ignoring the $54 billion debt to those who contributed to the plan and to all Quebeckers. It is paradoxical that the Conservatives say they hope to “ensure that EI premiums are dedicated exclusively to the EI program” but that in a few weeks time they will take the 2007-08 surplus and pay down the debt.

They seem to be going against their own philosophy. The Bloc Québécois asked that a $1.5 billion fund be established to ensure that this year's surplus be used strictly for the employment insurance fund. The Conservative budget fails to enhance in any way the employment insurance fund and, once again, there is a lack of consideration by this government for the unemployed. Nevertheless, we must consider the creation of this fund to be an immense victory for the Bloc Québécois.

With regard to aboriginal peoples, the Bloc Québécois had demanded that the federal government respect the agreements between the former government and aboriginal peoples and make provision for the required funding. The Bloc Québécois also expects the federal government to meet the urgent need for housing on reserves.

The 2008 budget sets aside an additional $660 million over two years for economic development and the improvement of academic performance, health, and the well-being of children and families, as well as the improvement of water quality and management. Unfortunately, although the $660 million investment may seem to be a large amount at first glance, the funds come primarily from monies set aside in the 2006 budget.

The budget does not meet the needs of aboriginal Canadians, since the money should have been announced in 2006. This funding comes too late and is just a drop in the bucket when compared to the defunct Kelowna accord. Expectations were high when the Kelowna accord was signed, and now there is major disappointment. No significant money was provided for social housing on reserves. Despite the need for more than 10,000 homes in Quebec alone, there is not enough allocated to improving the socio-economic conditions in first nations communities. Although there was a surplus in the last fiscal year, no money was set aside to fight poverty among aboriginals.

I would now like to talk about the Bloc's demand concerning the status of women. The Bloc Québécois wanted a series of measures to foster equality between men and women, in particular, the reinstatement of the court challenges program, the reinstatement of funding for Status of Women Canada and the improvement of the employment insurance plan, which is currently not advantageous for women. The Conservative budget does nothing for women. In fact, the word appears only six times in the budget, including the note in the French text regarding the use of the masculine gender to cover both men and women.

The budget includes the following paragraph entitled, “Advancing Equality of Women”. It reads, “Budget 2007 increased the women's program budget to $20 million. Over the next year, the government will build on this achievement through the development of an action plan that will advance the equality of women across Canada through the improvement of their economic and social conditions and their participation in democratic life.”

Members will recall that women's rights groups saw their funding disappear, since they were excluded from the new women's program, and will also recall that the women's program was funded through cuts to Status of Women.

The Conservative budget ignores women's concerns such as pay equity and the fight for equality. The Bloc Québécois is eagerly awaiting the Conservative action plan, but is expecting the same reactionary and backward-looking vision we are used to on this issue. And I will not even begin to speak about Bill C-484, introduced by a Conservative member, which is an embarrassment to all women.

The Bloc Québécois had even more expectations in terms of international cooperation, including achieving the goal of 0.7% of the GDP by 2015, as set out by the UN. We could reach that by increasing ODA budgets by 12% per year over the next three years and then by 15% per year until 2015.

In the 2008 budget, the government is committing to double international aid based on 2001-02 numbers, to bring it up to $5 billion by 2010-11. The budget also includes an additional $100 million for the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan, which would bring the projected value of Canada's aid program in Afghanistan up to $280 million in 2008-09. As well, aid to Africa would be doubled by 2008-09.

There is $450 million, for the next three years, for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. As well there is $50 million over two years for an innovation fund. However, the federal budget still does not present a credible plan for achieving the goal of 0.7% of the GDP by 2015 so that Canada can reach the UN's millennium goals.

All of the Bloc's demands were ignored. There is nothing for workers. There is no POWA, no regional development, no reinvestment in culture and nothing for social housing. It is equally bleak for women. For these reasons, the Bloc Québécois will vote against this bill.