Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime Act

An Act to amend the Criminal Code (auto theft and trafficking in property obtained by crime)

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

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

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

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to create offences in connection with the theft of a motor vehicle, the alteration, removal or obliteration of a vehicle identification number, the trafficking of property or proceeds obtained by crime and the possession of such property or proceeds for the purposes of trafficking, and to provide for an in rem prohibition of the importation or exportation of such property or proceeds.

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.

Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 5th, 2010 / 5:15 p.m.
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Bloc

Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

She means the border. I understood she meant the border. My colleague is quite right, but what I mean is that we know this bill is coming. We know we will study it and probably try to pass it quickly.

Everybody wants this bill, so we will not rag the puck, as they say. We will try to get it passed as quickly as possible. However, a system could be set up now, a computer system. Another possibility is to strongly encourage vehicle manufacturers to install a chip system right away, as I mentioned. They could start installing them on vehicles now. Why do we always have to wait for a law in order to act? It seems to me that insurance companies could put on the pressure. Given the tens of millions of dollars they spend compensating people whose cars are stolen, maybe they have some solutions. In fact, they do. The solutions already exist. Their representatives came and told us in committee.

Since I have the Minister of Industry across from me, maybe he could strongly encourage companies to protect themselves against these thefts by putting chips in vehicles starting now. That would save some time once the bill is implemented.

Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 5th, 2010 / 5:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague has talked about the sophistication that now accompanies auto theft rings and about the twinning of VIN numbers. I think he said that CSIS was providing an analysis as to how security codes could be placed in a vehicle and how the law could support that kind of approach.

I will ask him a question similar to the one I asked the last speaker. It is at an even higher level than that. It is not just the question of chips. Auto theft now takes place at a level where the circuits and systems are analyzed and stolen, fed to a ring of thieves that steal the car without having to break a window or anything else. They simply know the codes to unlock the doors, to start the ignition and overcome the GPS capabilities the chips have or any other level of technology at this point. Law enforcement has pointed that out.

Could the member comment on whether the committee could look at it at that level? I have not heard anyone touch on that level of sophistication. The law does not seem to come to grips with that. Perhaps the committee could look at it, call witnesses and take the kind of remedial action that would be required.

Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 5th, 2010 / 5:15 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is an interesting question. I would like to consider it when the bill comes before the committee. However, I also believe that this suggestion regarding the design and construction of vehicles should be made to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights is dealing more with which Criminal Code section to amend in order to prevent the offence of trafficking in property obtained by crime. This committee is more specific to the Criminal Code than the industry committee might be in this matter.

I find my colleague's suggestion very interesting. However, with due respect—I am not trying to ignore it—I believe it should be brought before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology because it involves design and application, and the newest cars on the road.

The system mentioned by my colleague is very interesting. That is what attracts thieves. However, we will be looking for ways to punish crime.

Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 5th, 2010 / 5:20 p.m.
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NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, briefly, at the closing of this debate, it is offence to the sensibilities of all democrats, or should be, to read that the title of the bill is Bill S-9, which means it originates in the unelected, undemocratic Senate instead of in the House of Commons, where people are elected by the people of Quebec and the people of Canada to put forward legislation.

I want to know my colleague's views. Does he not find it an affront to democracy in general that it is the unelected, undemocratic Senate that is driving these bills into the House of Commons? If these bills have merit, they should be generated in the freely elected democratic institution, and that is the House of Commons.

Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 5th, 2010 / 5:20 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I believe that my colleague knows the Bloc Québécois's position on the Senate. The only option is to abolish it. But we are not there yet.

If the government thought that it would be quicker to go through the Senate, it was wrong. It is trying to do the same thing with Bill S-4 on aboriginal matrimonial rights. The Conservatives may be able to get any bill they like passed in the Senate, where they have the majority, but there are still 12 members of this House on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, which meets twice a week. They cannot make anything up. They are trying to hurry us, but they will have to wait a bit.

I personally thought this bill would be introduced right away. It is the type of bill we all agree on. The same goes for Bill C-22 on child pornography. Everyone agreed on Bill S-9. I do not understand why it is being introduced through the Senate. I agree with my colleague, and as we like to say, enough is enough. Let us just leave it at that.

I find the government is trying to push things through the Senate where it thinks things will move more quickly because it has a majority and the Senate sits in June and July. When a bill arrives in the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights or in the House, it does not move any more quickly. We have been waiting for this bill since April 2008, two years and six months ago. It is time to act. We could have come to an agreement with the House leaders. These are bills we all agree on. Let us proceed more quickly than planned.

Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 5th, 2010 / 5:20 p.m.
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NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I was intrigued by the member's comments about the microchips that could be installed in the cars. Does he have a cost associated with that? I recall a few years ago the Insurance Bureau of Canada had some statistics on immobilizers and that they could install them in cars at the factory for, I believe in those days, $30 to $100 extra for each car. The car manufacturers refused to do it.

Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 5th, 2010 / 5:20 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will give the same answer I gave my Liberal Party colleague. I believe this is Industry Canada's responsibility and that of the car manufacturing industry.

I was not here, so it is easy for me to talk about it. When the government decided to make headlights mandatory, it was done. As soon as people start their cars, the lights come on. That has been mandatory since 1998, if my memory serves correctly. The funny thing is, when we want something, we can make it happen. Industry Canada needs to take action, and since the minister is here, I know he is listening to me.

Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 5th, 2010 / 5:20 p.m.
See context

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to Bill S-9. I want to follow up on an issue the Bloc member dealt with in terms of the microchip solution.

I had pointed out that a number of years ago Manitoba was looking into making immobilizers mandatory. In fact, in the beginning Manitoba made them optional. There was a reduction in the insurance premium for people who voluntarily installed immobilizers in their cars. Guess what? Absolutely nobody took the offer. There were maybe 100 people in the whole province who did. It was only when the provincial government took the bull by the horns and made immobilizers mandatory and free that we started to see results.

We saw a huge reduction over the first year or so. In fact, auto theft was down to the point where there was one day in March a year ago where there were no auto thefts. As a matter of fact, the problem has changed to one where people have been having difficulty finding cars to steal and lately they have been commandeering taxis. That has become a problem that Manitoba is dealing with. The taxi drivers are looking at options involving shields and further protection because recently quite a number of taxis have been commandeered.

At the time we were looking at the immobilizer program there were some statistics available from the Insurance Bureau of Canada. Those insurance statistics would represent all the provinces outside of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia, as they all have government-run programs.

I believe the studies at the time showed that if the big car companies were mandated by the government to install these immobilizers it could have been done 10 years ago at a cost of $30 for installation in each car. I may be wrong on the amount of $30, and it could have been $40 or $50, but it did not cost a lot to install an immobilizer in each car. We would have nipped the auto theft problem in the bud in the beginning and it would have cost a fraction of what it has cost society overall. However, the car companies refused to do that.

People then would have to put in after-market immobilizers. We all know that after-market immobilizers often do not work with the car's electrical system. Also, the engineering department of Ford, for example, refused to honour the warranties if the owners had put in after-market immobilizers. The car owners were caught. They wanted to do the right thing, but if they put in an after-market immobilizer, it would cause problems with the warranty on their new car, so there was a bit of a standoff. It is no surprise that very few people put in after-market immobilizers which, by the way, were very expensive.

The government had a responsibility here. In those days it was probably still a Liberal government because it was a few years ago. The government has to look at the Insurance Bureau of Canada statistics and it should be proactive. It should be looking for a solution and not waiting for the problem to mushroom to the extent that it has.

I am not sure whether it was during the last days of the Liberal government, but I think it may have been the Conservative government that actually mandated immobilizers in all new cars in Canada as of a certain date three or four years ago. That was a very positive thing to do. Within a 10-year period, which is the time it will take for all the older cars to be removed from the road, the problem should cure itself. That is quite a long time. Certainly, if the microchips are going to help solve this problem or do more to curb the problem, then we should be looking at them as well.

In Manitoba there are people who joyride in cars. In Toronto and Montreal, it involves more organized crime in high-end vehicles.

Madam Speaker, I understand that my time is up for today.