An Act to amend the Criminal Code (judicial discretion)

This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session, which ended in March 2011.

This bill was previously introduced in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session.


Joe Comartin  NDP

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


Introduced, as of May 15, 2009
(This bill did not become law.)


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

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to allow the court, in exceptional circumstances, to impose a punishment that is less than the prescribed minimum punishment.


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.

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

May 15th, 2009 / 12:05 p.m.
See context


Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-388, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (judicial discretion).

Mr. Speaker, the bill is an attempt on my part to introduce the concept of judicial discretion in exceptional circumstances. It follows a model that, from my observations and study of the British system, has worked very well there.

The legislature in the U.K. has repeatedly, as we have here, passed measures for mandatory minimums. However, the U.K. has a very special provision, and this would echo it, that allows judges in exceptional circumstances to, in effect, override the mandatory minimum.

It reflects the reality of human life, that there are exceptional circumstances where the mandatory minimums just do not make sense, and are not fair and just. This section would allow our judiciary, which I believe to be the best in the world, to exercise that discretion in the appropriate circumstances.

Again I thank the hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas for seconding the bill.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)