An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

This bill was last introduced in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2019.

Sponsor

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.

Part 1 amends the provisions of the Criminal Code that deal with offences and procedures relating to drug-impaired driving. Among other things, the amendments

(a) enact new criminal offences for driving with a blood drug concentration that is equal to or higher than the permitted concentration;

(b) authorize the Governor in Council to establish blood drug concentrations; and

(c) authorize peace officers who suspect a driver has a drug in their body to demand that the driver provide a sample of a bodily substance for analysis by drug screening equipment that is approved by the Attorney General of Canada.

Part 2 repeals the provisions of the Criminal Code that deal with offences and procedures relating to conveyances, including those provisions enacted by Part 1, and replaces them with provisions in a new Part of the Criminal Code that, among other things,

(a) re-enact and modernize offences and procedures relating to conveyances;

(b) authorize mandatory roadside screening for alcohol;

(c) establish the requirements to prove a person’s blood alcohol concentration; and

(d) increase certain maximum penalties and certain minimum fines.

Part 3 contains coordinating amendments and the coming into force provision.

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

Oct. 31, 2017 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
Oct. 25, 2017 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
Oct. 25, 2017 Failed Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment)

February 27th, 2020 / 9:30 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Blair Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

I know you directed the question to the commissioner, but if I may, I'd like an opportunity to speak to this.

We saw, for example, that there were significant deficiencies in the law with respect to drug-impaired driving. It's been an offence to drive while impaired by drugs in this country since 1923. Up until the introduction and implementation of Bill C-46 in the last Parliament, the police did not have the authorities or access to the technologies or the training they needed to enforce these laws, and to therefore deter and detect these offences and successfully prosecute them.

We've made very significant investments in a number of areas, specifically for the police. We've provided additional resources, not just for the RCMP but for police right across the country, to increase the number of officers. We've nearly doubled the number of officers trained as drug recognition experts, who are necessary in the investigation and prosecution of these offences. We have additionally made significant investments in police officers in every part of the country. They have been trained in what's called “standardized field sobriety testing” so that every police officer is empowered to do this.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

June 17th, 2019 / 11:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Colin Fraser Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, although I must reject the premise of the question, I can say a couple of things.

The member mentioned Bill C-45, and Bill C-46 being the companion piece, dealing with impaired driving. Earlier today, a Conservative member talked about MADD Canada. In fact, it supported Bill C-46 and the impaired driving regime that was put in place as a result of Bill C-45 coming into force. Giving police officers the tools they need to keep our roads safe was important. That is why MADD Canada supported this government's proposal in Bill C-46.

As it relates to other initiatives dealing with the criminal justice system, there is a fundamental misunderstanding on the part of those who suggest that, as I dealt with in my speech, giving the Crown more flexibility in determining which procedure to use somehow minimizes the impact of the penalties that would be imposed by the courts. That is simply not true. It is a fundamental misunderstanding of the criminal justice system. I invite my friend to read section 718 of the Criminal Code, which clearly identifies the principles of sentencing, based on the circumstances of the offence and of the offender.

June 17th, 2019 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Well, as I said, Monsieur Dubé, we have had an enormous volume of work to get through, as has this committee, as has Parliament, generally. The work program has advanced as rapidly as we could make it. It takes time and effort to put it all together. I'm glad we're at this stage, and I hope the parliamentary machinery will work well enough this week that we can get it across the finish line.

It has been a very significant agenda, when you consider there has been Bill C-7, Bill C-21, Bill C-22, Bill C-23, Bill C-37, Bill C-46, Bill C-66, Bill C-71, Bill C-59, Bill C-97, Bill C-83, Bill C-93 and Bill C-98. It's a big agenda and we have to get it all through the same relatively small parliamentary funnel.

Criminal Records ActGovernment Orders

June 4th, 2019 / 10:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, began his speech by talking about all the work done by the committee.

Some of his comments are the same ones we often hear when undertaking studies in committee. The Conservative members proposed amendments during the process. Our approach is very technical. We do not play political games when we move amendments. We really try to improve the legislation and how it will apply in real life.

The member started to speak a little about how this bill was treated in committee. I would like to hear more about the Conservative amendments that were rejected.

I also think that this bill should have been introduced along with Bills C-45 and C-46. In fact, the three issues should have been dealt with in an omnibus bill.

As a member of Parliament, I voted in favour of the expungement of criminal records. At the time, I believed that it would be the best approach. Bills C-45 and C-46 were passed and received royal assent, and the Liberals have had plenty of time to try to find a technical solution to the problems faced by people with a criminal record who are applying for a pardon, while addressing criminal records at the provincial and municipal levels and the associated costs.

I would like my colleague to talk about the work done in committee. Which Conservative amendments were rejected by the government, even though they would have reduced the impact on people on the ground and made this bill better?

Criminal Records ActGovernment Orders

June 4th, 2019 / 9:15 p.m.
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Kanata—Carleton Ontario

Liberal

Karen McCrimmon LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to start off the debate at third reading of Bill C-93. This measure will make the pardon process simpler and quicker for Canadians convicted only of simple possession of cannabis. This is the next logical step in our efforts to establish a safer and more efficient system for cannabis.

During the last election, we committed to legalizing and regulating cannabis. We did that last fall. At that time, we committed to establishing a way for people to get their records pardoned with no waiting period or application fee. Now we are on the cusp of passing legislation to do just that.

I am very appreciative of the members of Parliament who have participated in the debate on the bill in the chamber. I would especially like to thank all the members of the public safety committee for their usual thorough analysis. My thanks go out as well to the witnesses and to those who provided written briefs.

Ordinarily, to apply for a pardon, people have to serve their full sentence, wait five or up to 10 years, collect and submit police and court records, and pay a $631 application fee. People also have to convince a member of the Parole Board that they meet certain subjective criteria, namely, that they have been of good conduct, that the pardon would give them a measurable benefit and that granting them a pardon would not bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

It is an expensive and time-consuming process, but people go through it because of how valuable a pardon really is. The public safety committee has studied pardons at length, not only in the context of this bill, but as part of a broader study initiated by Motion No. 161 from the member for Saint John—Rothesay.

During that study, a witness from the Elizabeth Fry Society said that a pardon is like “being able to turn that page over” and allows people “to pursue paths that were closed to them.” A witness from the John Howard Society testified that pardons “allow the person to be restored to the community, as a contributing member without the continuing penalization of the past wrong.”

Getting a pardon means that when a person undergoes a criminal records check, it comes up empty. That makes it easier to get a job, get an education, rent an apartment, travel, volunteer in a community and simply live life without the burden and the stigma of a criminal record.

Clearly, now that possession of cannabis is legal, people who have been convicted of nothing but that should be able to shed their criminal records. Given the reality that the prohibition of cannabis had disproportionate impacts on marginalized communities, it is important for the process to be as simple, straightforward and accessible as possible.

That is why, with Bill C-93, we are taking the unprecedented step of completely eliminating the $631 application fee and completely eliminating the waiting period. We are also completely eliminating the possibility that the Parole Board could deny such an application on the basis of subjective criteria like good conduct.

Also, thanks to an amendment at committee from the member for Toronto—Danforth, people will be able to apply even if they have outstanding fines associated with their cannabis possession conviction.

Due to an amendment we voted on at report stage yesterday, people whose only sentence was a fine will not be required to submit court documents as part of their application. That is because the main purpose of court documents for those applicants would be to show that the fine was paid, and that just will not matter anymore. Taken together, these measures remove many of the expenses and obstacles that could otherwise prevent people from getting pardons and moving on with their lives.

I was glad to see that the bill received overwhelming support from hon. members in the House yesterday. We have a process that will be created by Bill C-93 that is simple and straightforward without unnecessary obstacles placed in the path of applicants.

One of the issues that has come up over the course of the study of Bill C-93 is the question of why it proposes an application-based system. Some have asked why not just do it like some California municipalities and erase all the records with the press of a button? We do have an electronic police database of criminal records here in Canada, however, that database does not contain enough information to allow for a proactive amnesty.

For one thing, it generally does not contain information related to summary conviction offences, which is how cannabis possession is most often charged. And for another, it generally does not say whether a person possessed cannabis or an entirely different substance.

Information is entered into the database by individual police officers right across the country. Most of the time for a drug possession charge, the officer just enters “possession of a controlled substance”. It could be cannabis but it also could be cocaine.

To get the details and to find out about summary convictions as well as indictable offences, police and court documents have to be checked. Unlike in California, those documents are kept by many different jurisdictions. They are housed in provincial and municipal repositories across the country, each with its own individual record-keeping system.

Many Canadian jurisdictions have not digitized their records. They exist in boxes and filing cabinets in the basements of local courthouses and police stations. Without applications that enable the Parole Board to zero in on the relevant documents, it would take a huge amount of staff and many years to go through it all. Quite simply, a flick of a switch option that we have seen in California would be wonderful and we would like nothing better than to do just that. In Canada however, that is simply not physically possible in any reasonable time frame. Nevertheless, we are certainly aware of the importance of making the application system under Bill C-93 as simple and accessible as we possibly can.

The public safety committee has made recommendations to continue seeking ways of further reducing the cost to applicants. We have responded with a report stage amendment removing the need for court records for some applicants, and we will keep working to this end.

The committee also encouraged the Parole Board to explore options for moving towards a more digitized system capable of receiving applications electronically, something particularly important for Canadians in rural areas.

For the reasons I mentioned earlier, enabling a truly electronic system would involve technological enhancements not only at the Parole Board but in provinces, territories and municipalities as well. That is a considerable undertaking, but I think we all know that one day it must be done. Our grandchildren should not be breathing the dust off the paper records that we use today. Therefore, I agree with the committee's recommendation to make that advancement happen sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, the Parole Board is taking a number of steps to simplify the application process in other ways. It is simplifying its website and application form. It is creating a dedicated, toll-free phone number and an email address to help people with their applications. It is developing a community outreach strategy with a particular focus on the communities most affected by the criminalization of cannabis to make sure that people know about this new expedited process and how to access it, because accessibility is the most important element of this. The goal is for as many Canadians as possible to take advantage of this opportunity to clear their criminal records and to move on with their lives. It is to their benefit and to the benefit of all of us that they be able to do so.

I would like to conclude by reminding the House just how far the cannabis file has come during this Parliament, from the blue ribbon panel chaired by Anne McLellan, to the massive cross-country consultations in communities from coast to coast to coast, to the passage of Bill C-45 and Bill C-46, both of which received extensive study in both chambers of Parliament, and the coming into force of Bill C-45 this past October.

We legalized and regulated cannabis, as promised, with the goal of keeping it out of the hands of children and keeping profits out of the hands of criminals, and early signs are encouraging. In the first three months of 2019, according to Statistics Canada, the criminal share of the overall cannabis market dropped to just 38%, which is down from 51% over the same period a year before. Reporting on those numbers recently in L'actualité magazine, journalist Alec Castonguay said, “Organized crime no longer has a stranglehold on the cannabis market. It is in decline”.

The prohibition of cannabis was counterproductive. It was a public policy failure. The new regime we put in place last October is already showing encouraging signs, and Bill C-93 is the logical next step. I encourage all hon. members to join with the government to pass this bill so that the Senate can begin its consideration, and so that Canadians can begin benefiting from this new simplified, expedited pardon process as soon as possible.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

May 27th, 2019 / noon
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Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

moved:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, commencing upon the adoption of this Order and concluding on Friday, June 21, 2019:

(a) on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, the ordinary hour of daily adjournment shall be 12:00 a.m., except that it shall be 10:00 p.m. on a day when a debate, pursuant to Standing Order 52 or 53.1, is to take place;

(b) subject to paragraph (e), when a recorded division is requested in respect of a debatable motion, including any division arising as a consequence of the application of Standing Order 61(2) or Standing Order 78, but not including any division in relation to the Business of Supply or arising as a consequence of an order made pursuant to Standing Order 57, (i) before 2:00 p.m. on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, it shall stand deferred until the conclusion of Oral Questions at that day’s sitting, or (ii) after 2:00 p.m. on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, or at any time on a Friday, it shall stand deferred until the conclusion of Oral Questions at the next sitting day that is not a Friday, provided that, if a recorded division on the previous question is deferred and the motion is subsequently adopted, the recorded division on the original question shall not be deferred;

(c) notwithstanding Standing Order 45(6) and paragraph (b) of this Order, no recorded division in relation to any government order requested after 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 20, 2019, or at any time on Friday, June 21, 2019, shall be deferred;

(d) the time provided for Government Orders shall not be extended pursuant to Standing Order 45(7.1) or Standing Order 67.1(2);

(e) when a recorded division, which would have ordinarily been deemed deferred to immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business on a Wednesday governed by this Order, is requested, the said division is deemed to have been deferred until the conclusion of Oral Questions on the same Wednesday;

(f) any recorded division which, at the time of the adoption of this Order, stands deferred to immediately before the time provided for Private Members’ Business on the Wednesday immediately following the adoption of this Order shall be deemed to stand deferred to the conclusion of Oral Questions on the same Wednesday;

(g) a recorded division requested in respect of a motion to concur in a government bill at the report stage pursuant to Standing Order 76.1(9), where the bill has neither been amended nor debated at the report stage, shall be deferred in the manner prescribed by paragraph (b);

(h) for greater certainty, this Order shall not limit the application of Standing Order 45(7);

(i) when one or several deferred recorded divisions occur on a bill at report stage, a motion, “That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass”, may be made in the same sitting;

(j) no dilatory motion may be proposed after 6:30 p.m., except by a Minister of the Crown;

(k) notwithstanding Standing Orders 81(16)(b) and (c) and 81(18)(c), proceedings on any opposition motion shall conclude no later than 5:30 p.m. on the sitting day that is designated for that purpose, except on a Monday when they shall conclude at 6:30 p.m. or on a Friday when they shall conclude at 1:30 p.m.;

(l) during consideration of the estimates on the last allotted day, pursuant to Standing Order 81(18), when the Speaker interrupts the proceedings for the purpose of putting forthwith all questions necessary to dispose of the estimates, (i) all remaining motions to concur in the Votes for which a notice of opposition was filed shall be deemed to have been moved and seconded, the question deemed put and recorded divisions deemed requested, (ii) the Speaker shall have the power to combine the said motions for voting purposes, provided that, in exercising this power, the Speaker will be guided by the same principles and practices used at report stage;

(m) when debate on a motion for the concurrence in a report from a standing, standing joint or special committee is adjourned or interrupted, the debate shall again be considered on a day designated by the government, after consultation with the House Leaders of the other parties, but in any case not later than the 31st sitting day after the interruption; and

(n) Members not seeking re-election to the 43rd Parliament may be permitted to make statements, on Tuesday, June 4, and Wednesday, June 5, 2019, at the expiry of the time provided for Private Members’ Business for not more than three hours, and that, for the duration of the statements, (i) no member shall speak for longer than ten minutes and the speeches not be subject to a question and comment period, (ii) after three hours or when no Member rises to speak, whichever comes first, the House shall return to Government Orders.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Motion No. 30, which allows for the extension of the sitting hours of the House until we rise for the summer adjournment.

I rise today to speak to Motion No. 30. This motion would allow for the extension of sitting hours of the House until we rise for the summer adjournment. There is a clear and recent precedent for this extension of hours to give the House more time to do its important work. It occurred last year at this time and also the year before that. As well, in the previous Parliament, the hours of the House were extended in June 2014.

Four years ago, our government came forward with an ambitious mandate that promised real change. Under the leadership of our Prime Minister, our government has introduced legislation that has improved the lives of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. However, we have more work to do.

So far in this Parliament, the House has passed 82 government bills, and 65 of those have received royal assent. The facts are clear. This Parliament has been productive. We have a strong record of accomplishment. It is a long list, so I will cite just a few of our accomplishments.

Bill C-2 made good on our promise to lower taxes on middle-class Canadians by increasing taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Canadians. There are nine million Canadians who have benefited from this middle-class tax cut. This tax cut has been good for Canadians and their families. It has been good for the economy and good for Canada, and its results have been better than advertised. On our side, we are proud of this legislation. We have always said that we were on the side of hard-working, middle-class Canadians, and this legislation is proof of exactly that.

As well, thanks to our budgetary legislation, low-income families with children are better off today. We introduced the biggest social policy innovation in more than a generation through the creation of the tax-free Canada child benefit. The CCB puts cash into the pockets of nine out of 10 families and has lifted nearly 300,000 Canadian children out of poverty.

Early in this Parliament, in response to the Supreme Court of Canada, we passed medical assistance in dying legislation, which carefully balanced the rights of those seeking medical assistance in dying while ensuring protection of the most vulnerable in our society.

Also of note, we repealed the previous government's law that allowed citizenship to be revoked from dual citizens. We also restored the rights of Canadians abroad to vote in Canadian elections.

We added gender identity as a prohibited ground for discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act. Also, passing Bill C-65 has helped make workplaces in federally regulated industries and on Parliament Hill free from harassment and sexual violence.

We promised to give the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer the powers, resources and independence to properly do its job. We delivered on that commitment through legislation, and the PBO now rigorously examines the country's finances in an independent and non-partisan manner.

Through Bill C-45, we ended the failed approach to cannabis by legalizing it and strictly regulating and restricting access to cannabis, as part of our plan to keep cannabis out of the hands of youth and profits out of the pockets of organized crime. Along with that, Bill C-46 has strengthened laws to deter and punish people who drive while impaired, both from alcohol and/or drugs.

These are just some examples of the work we have accomplished on behalf of Canadians.

We are now heading into the final weeks of this session of Parliament, and there is more work to do. Four years ago, Canadians sent us here with a responsibility to work hard on their behalf, to discuss important matters of public policy, to debate legislation and to vote on that legislation.

The motion to allow for the extension of sitting hours of the House is timely, and clearly it is necessary. We have an important legislative agenda before us, and we are determined to work hard to make even more progress.

Passage of this motion would give all members exactly what they often ask for: more time for debate. I know every member wants to deliver for their communities and this motion will help with exactly that. We have much to accomplish in the coming weeks and we have the opportunity to add time to get more done.

I would like to highlight a few of the bills that our government will seek to advance.

I will start with Bill C-97, which would implement budget 2017. This budget implementation act is about making sure that all Canadians feel the benefits of a growing economy. That means helping more Canadians find an affordable home, and get training so that they have the skills necessary to obtain good, well-paying jobs. It is also about making it easier for seniors to retire with confidence.

Another important bill is Bill C-92, which would affirm and recognize the rights of first nations, Inuit and Métis children and families. The bill would require all providers of indigenous child and family services to adhere to certain principles, namely the best interests of the child, family unity and cultural continuity. This co-drafted legislation would transfer the jurisdiction of child and family services delivery to indigenous communities. This is historic legislation that is long overdue.

We have another important opportunity for us as parliamentarians, which is to pass Bill C-93, the act that deals with pardons as they relate to simple possession of cannabis. As I mentioned, last year we upheld our commitment to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis. It is time to give people who were convicted of simple possession a straightforward way to clear their names. We know it is mostly young people from the poorest of communities who have been targeted and hence are being left behind. This bill would create an expedited pardon process, with no application fee or waiting period, for people convicted only of simple possession of cannabis. Canadians who have held criminal records in the past for simple possession of cannabis should be able to meaningfully participate in their communities, get good and stable jobs and become the contributing members of our society that they endeavour to be.

Meanwhile, there is another important bill before the House that we believe needs progress. Bill C-88 is an act to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. This legislation only impacts the Northwest Territories, and its territorial government is asking us to act. This legislation protects Canada's natural environment, respects the rights of indigenous people and supports a strong natural resources sector. This bill will move the country ahead with a process that promotes reconciliation with indigenous peoples and creates certainty for investments in the Mackenzie Valley and the Arctic.

Earlier this month, our government introduced Bill C-98, an act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act and the Canada Border Services Agency Act. This bill would create civilian oversight of the Canada Border Services Agency. It would provide citizens with an independent review body to address complaints about the CBSA, just as they now have complaint mechanisms in place for the RCMP. Let me remind members that it was our government that brought forward Bill C-22 that established the national security intelligence committee of parliamentarians, which has tabled its first annual report to Parliament. We are committed to ensuring that our country's border services are worthy of the trust of Canadians, and Bill C-98 is a significant step towards strengthening that accountability.

We have taken a new approach. We, as a government, have consulted with Canadians when it comes to our legislation. We have seen committees call witnesses and suggest amendments that often times improve legislation, and we, as a government, have accepted those changes. We were able to accomplish this work because we gave the committees more resources and we encouraged Liberal members to do their work.

Likewise, currently there are two bills that have returned to the House with amendments from the Senate. I look forward to members turning their attention to these bills as well. One of those bills is Bill C-81, an act to ensure a barrier-free Canada. Our goal is to make accessibility both a reality and a priority across federal jurisdictions so that all people, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, can participate and be included in society as contributing members. Bill C-81 would help us to reach that goal by taking a proactive approach to getting ahead of systemic discrimination. The purpose of this bill is to make Canada barrier free, starting in areas under federal jurisdiction. This bill, if passed by Parliament, will represent the most significant legislation for the rights of persons with disabilities in over 30 years, and for once it will focus on their abilities.

The other bill we have received from the Senate is Bill C-58, which would make the first significant reforms to the Access to Information Act since it was enacted in 1982. With this bill, our government is raising the bar on openness and transparency by revitalizing access to information. The bill would give more power to the Information Commissioner and would provide for proactive disclosure of information.

There are also a number of other bills before the Senate. We have respect for the upper chamber. It is becoming less partisan thanks to the changes our Prime Minister has made to the appointment process, and we respect the work that senators do in reviewing legislation as a complementary chamber.

Already the Senate has proposed amendments to many bills, and the House has in many instances agreed with many of those changes. As we look toward the final few weeks, it is wise to give the House greater flexibility, and that is exactly why supporting this motion makes sense. This extension motion will help to provide the House with the time it needs to consider these matters.

There are now just 20 days left in the parliamentary calendar before the summer adjournment, and I would like to thank all MPs and their teams for their contributions to the House over the past four years. Members in the House have advanced legislation that has had a greater impact for the betterment of Canadians. That is why over 800,000 Canadians are better off today than they were three years ago when we took office.

We saw that with the lowering of the small business tax rate to 9%, small businesses have been able to grow through innovation and trade. We see that Canadians have created over one million jobs, the majority of which are full-time, good-paying jobs that Canadians deserve. These are jobs that were created by Canadians for Canadians.

That is why I would also like to stress that while it is necessary for us to have honest and vibrant deliberations on the motion, Canadians are looking for us all to work collaboratively and constructively in their best interests. That is exactly why extending the hours will provide the opportunity for more members to be part of the debates that represent the voices of their constituents in this place, so that we continue to advance good legislation that benefits even more Canadians.

It has been great to do the work that we have been doing, but we look forward to doing even more.

May 14th, 2019 / 8:45 p.m.
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Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Madam Chair, I believe that those hon. members may contribute later on this evening, but we will see what happens.

Mandatory roadside testing is seen as an efficient way to police our roads and make driving safer. The kinds of provisions that we have placed in Bill C-46, which is now the law, will save lives.

May 14th, 2019 / 8:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Ron McKinnon Liberal Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Madam Chair, I believe that the minister touched on this question already, but I will ask it again more specifically.

After the coming into force of part 2 of Bill C-46 last December, there were some media articles on the application of the new rules relating to the offence of driving over the legal limit, the over-80 offence, which were broadened to capture drivers who were over 80 within two hours of driving. Can the minister explain the reasons underlying this change and further explain whether a police officer can now come to someone's house and arrest that person for impaired driving hours after the person operated a vehicle?

May 14th, 2019 / 8:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Ron McKinnon Liberal Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Madam Chair, I have also heard a lot of discussion about mandatory alcohol screening. Why does Bill C-46 allow for it? What others countries use mandatory alcohol screening and what have their experiences been in deploying it?

May 14th, 2019 / 8:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Ron McKinnon Liberal Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Madam Chair, I will be providing 10 minutes of remarks followed by some questions.

One of many things this government has done since taking office is to legalize and strictly regulate cannabis in Bill C-45. This is one of the biggest and most transformative public policy shifts in recent history.

Before this legislation came into force in October of last year, Canadian law enforcement agencies were spending billions of dollars annually to enforce the prohibition against cannabis while organized crime was reaping billions of dollars in illegal profits. It was easier for young people to buy cannabis than cigarettes. This situation was neither defensible nor responsible.

From the beginning, public health and public safety have been the primary objectives throughout the policy development process and the implementation of the new legislation.

Our government has always been focused on protecting youth from the known health risks of cannabis and working to keep those who are under the age of majority from accessing it. In fact, keeping cannabis out of the hands of young people was one of the primary, driving policy objectives of the Cannabis Act. That is why only adults who are 18, or 19 depending on province of residence, are able to legally purchase or possess cannabis. It is also why the Cannabis Act prohibits advertising designed to encourage youth to use cannabis. It also prohibits selling or providing cannabis to youth, and imposes serious criminal penalties on people who break the law.

In addition to protecting youth, our government's approach to legalizing cannabis has provided adults who use cannabis, or who want to use cannabis, with a lawful, regulated and safe environment in which to do so. Providing a regulated and legal alternative for purchasing cannabis will ensure that the product is safe and will significantly reduce organized crime's share of the cannabis market.

When our government embarked down the path of cannabis legalization, we did so with the recognition that such a seismic shift in the Canadian social policy landscape could have far-reaching impacts, including in the area of road safety. That is precisely why our government strengthened the criminal law with respect to drug-impaired driving at the same time. In fact, in recognition of how closely linked these two issues were, the bill to legalize cannabis and the bill to strengthen the Criminal Code impaired driving regime were introduced on the same day.

Among the many changes to the criminal impaired driving framework was the creation of three new driving offences for having prohibited levels of cannabis' primary impairing component, THC, in the blood. These offences are more objective and will be easier to prove than the long-standing offence of driving while impaired by a drug. In addition, the new law has provided law enforcement with the authority to use roadside oral fluid testing devices as another tool to detect drug-impaired drivers.

One drug screener was approved by the Attorney General of Canada in August last year, and I note that a notice has just been made of the intention to approve a second drug screener. I understand that the public comment period with respect to this second drug screener will close on May 20, at which point the Attorney General will make a final decision, taking into account any comments received. This is very encouraging news for the law enforcement community, as they will have more tools at their disposal. In addition, all Canadians should be aware that the police are well-equipped and well-trained to detect drug-impaired drivers.

It is also important to note that police were not starting from zero in detecting drug impaired drivers. Police were intercepting and arresting drug-impaired drivers long before cannabis was legalized. In fact, since 2008, police have been authorized to conduct sobriety tests at the roadside and at the police station to determine if a driver is impaired by drugs. As part of the response to cannabis legalization, more officers have been trained to detect drug impairment and more will continue to be trained in the coming months.

I think we can all agree that the previous approach to cannabis did not work. In my view, the new legal framework, accompanied by stronger impaired driving laws, is a reasonable and responsible approach.

I would like to compliment our government for its robust public awareness campaign in sharing messages on several key elements of these legislative changes, including how to safely use cannabis, the dangers of using cannabis before driving or while on the job, the rules that remain around cannabis and the border and how important it is not to take cannabis across international boundaries. This extensive public awareness campaign was available on social media, online, on television and elsewhere to counter persistent myths and misconceptions about cannabis and cannabis impaired driving.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to mention the collaboration between the federal government and the provinces and territories who help make this profound public policy shift a success. As we know, the federal government is responsible for legalizing and strictly regulating the production of cannabis, setting standards for health and safety and establishing criminal prohibitions. On the other hand, the provinces and territories are responsible for licensing and overseeing the distribution and sale of cannabis. Our provincial and territorial partners play an important role in helping to achieve the ultimate public policy objective of ensuring that young people do not have access to cannabis and that those who sell outside the legal framework face stiff criminal penalties. The federal government will continue to work in partnership with the provincial and territorial governments to ensure the continued and effective implementation of these legislative reforms.

That said, can the minister expand upon what else was contained in the impaired driving legislation, Bill C-46, and what are the major measures included therein that will help reduce fatalities on our roads as a result of drug and alcohol impaired driving?

Criminal Records ActGovernment Orders

May 6th, 2019 / 4:35 p.m.
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Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.

I would like to go back to the discussion we were just having. My two colleagues who just spoke supported the legalization of cannabis, and the discussion we have had over the last few minutes about these administrative charges was interesting.

When talking to prosecutors about past charges around simple possession, they will tell us that many times people go into court charged with multiple offences, such as perhaps other drug offences or trafficking. Those kinds of things are tied in, and the charges are often pleaded down to simple possession. In that kind of situation, the offender would qualify for the Liberals' proposal; whereas, a teenager from a rural area who is charged and does not have the capacity to get to a court hearing, or who fails to appear and gets this administrative charge, would not qualify for that kind of hearing.

Right from the beginning, we see the unintended consequences of poor legislation, and this is not the only bill where that has happened with the Liberal government. The present Liberal government will be known in the future as the government that brought legislation in without having thought through much of it. When bills come back with 25, 30 or 40 amendments, we know that the government has not done its job with respect to preparation.

We have seen that all over the place. We have seen it with respect to a million different issues. We are seeing it at home right now in my area, on the canola issue. We found out early on that the Chinese government wanted us to do something about tariffs on steel, and our government refused to do that. It was more interested in kowtowing to the Chinese government than dealing with our biggest trading partner, the United States. As a result of not moving on it, we ended up with tariffs. Now we have further tariffs on canola. We have tariffs on pork. We have these tariffs because the government does not consider what it is doing. It does not take into account the consequences of its activities, and then we see all kinds of secondary effects. This legislation, when I get around to talking about it, indicates that as well.

We see it on carbon taxes and other taxes imposed by the Liberal government. It has had the highest impact on Canadian people with the least effect of any type of carbon program that one could put in place.

Aboriginal affairs would be another good example. We heard this afternoon about the fact that the government failed to consult the aboriginal community with respect to another bill. The government has not asked the aboriginal community what is best for its people. The Liberals claim that the majority of people who would be impacted by that legislation are aboriginal and those with a very low income, but they have not asked them what would work for them. Often aboriginal peoples do not have access to urban centres or easy access to the Internet and those kinds of things, and the Liberals do not ask them what would work for them. Instead, they come with a plan that for many people would not work.

With respect to aboriginal affairs, the Liberals have divided communities. Many bands want to participate in the energy projects in our part of the world. They want to have a part of the prosperity that comes out of energy projects, and the government has basically divided those communities. That seems to be what the Liberal government does most effectively.

The government talked about having consultations on this legislation, but it failed to do that. It also claimed to have had consultations at its firearms meetings in the last few months. It set the meetings up to make them work as well as possible for itself, but that did not quite turn out. There were 135,000 online responses, and basically it was 75% to 80% opposed to the government making a move and changing things. I guess the government did not anticipate that, but that was the reality of the Canadian population. Once again, the Liberals misread it.

We see unintended consequences around energy disasters such as the purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline. There was no need to do that.

Probably the place where we have seen the most obvious set of unintended consequences is around financial management. We have seen those folks just blow through people's tax money.

It was interesting. Last week, we were talking about the budget implementation bill. The deputy House leader, at every point, talked about the public purse. However, rarely did he talk about taxpayers and the fact that there is only one place that the government gets money, and that is out of the pocket of the taxpayers of Canada.

On each of these things, whether it is budgets that are running deficits that are two and three times what were promised, or the Trans Mountain pipeline, a pipeline that no one wanted to sell and no one wanted to buy, the government has not thought about taxpayers. The proponents themselves were willing to spend the money on the project. However, now we have Canadian taxpayers who have dived into it to the tune of about $5 billion so far. If the government is going to get the project done, it will be another $10 billion. The government has committed that kind of money to it without even thinking about taxpayers.

The Liberal government has also failed to spend its infrastructure money fairly and equally.

Another area where there has been unintended consequences, probably one of the most obvious ones, was the summer jobs program. The Liberals completely misread Canadians, trying to force them to follow the Liberal ideology. Anyone who had a different perspective from the government was then pushed to the outside.

I would argue that we are back here again. We have the late introduction of Bill C-93. It looks more like a public relations project than anything else. Again, this follows in the footsteps of Bill C-45 and Bill C-46, bills that the Liberals passed without an understanding of many of the consequences of what they were doing. I was not one of the people who supported those two bills.

The Liberals find themselves in a situation right now where they do not have the capacity to meet the demand. They did not prepare for that. They do not have capacity to set a realistic price. Those folks who are happily selling on the private market are doing just fine, in spite of the government's attempt to try to stop that.

The messaging across the way has been that the government is going to keep this out of the hands of people who should not have it. When I am talking to junior high-school students, for example, they are telling me that this is more accessible to them than it has ever been in their lives.

There is certainly no solution at the border either. I heard Liberal members say earlier today that they have had discussions and this is not going to be a problem for Canadians. We know full well that it is. We have a small crossing near my home. I went down to Montana a couple of weeks ago, to the post office down there, and came back. U.S. Customs agents are now stopping Canadians on the U.S. side of the border before we come into Canada.

As members know, people stop at the U.S. side on the way down, and when they come back, typically they drive to the Canadian side and then out. They are now stopping everyone prior to being allowed to exit to Canada. I asked why they were doing this, and I was told that they have direction from on high. I asked when it happened and was told that, coincidentally, when Canada legalized cannabis. There is another problem here that the Liberals never thought of at all.

I have another thing I want to talk about today as I am wrapping up. It seems like time flies very quickly here. We have talked a lot about the difference between pardons and expungement, and those kinds of things. The government has made its choice; others have very different ideas.

One of the things I want to bring up goes back to the taxpayers. There is a bill here of somewhere between zero and $600 million to do this process. I have a question as to why the taxpayers should be stuck with this bill one more time. The government seems comfortable spending everyone else's money.

This morning, we heard a Liberal member talking about his friend who, when he graduated from university, could not get a job at 7-11, but now he is a public servant. He is a public servant and is probably doing really well. Why should the folks who are now working at 7-11 be expected to pay for his pardon or expungement, whichever direction the Liberal government finally goes in with this legislation?

We have gone so far away from considering where money comes from. The government takes it out of the pockets of average people and does not think a thing about it. We have a situation here where people have broken the law, and they typically broke it knowing what the law was and that if they got caught there was going to be a punishment.

The law is now changed, and I do not have any problem with people getting pardons or expungement of these records. The question is, why should the taxpayers, those folks who are working for an hourly wage, be expected to then pay that bill?

I suspect that this is going to be much less successful than the Liberals said it will be. I was surprised a little earlier when one of my NDP colleagues talked about the pardons that have been made available to the gay and lesbian community. He said that only seven people so far have applied to the process. That probably means the process is too complicated for people to be bothered with and people have not done that.

Today I have heard figures that 10,000 people will apply, that there are 200,000, up to 400,000, who will be impacted by this. My question to the government today would be, why does it expect that the taxpayers of Canada would once more pick up the cost for a government bill that has a number of unintended consequences that were not considered ahead of time?

Criminal Records ActGovernment Orders

May 6th, 2019 / 1:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Madam Speaker, as had been noted earlier in debate today on this topic, the legalization of marijuana may well be the only election promise that the government has successfully kept, as we get to the very end of this Parliament. That bill, even then, took longer than the Liberals' promised deadlines for which it was to take place.

There are still a number of loose ends to this that were not properly contemplated under Bill C-45 and Bill C-46. I would ask the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan if he would like to comment on the late hour, literally down to the final weeks of this Parliament, still trying to deal with the sloppiness of the entire legalization rollout?

Criminal Records ActGovernment Orders

May 6th, 2019 / 12:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Madam Speaker, I wholeheartedly agree with the comment made by the hon. member for Calgary Rocky Ridge.

Wherever one stands on the issue of legalization, it is very clear that, from the start, the Liberal government completely bungled the implementation and enforcement of legalization legislation. On that basis alone, I was against Bill C-45 and Bill C-46, which contains a number of provisions.

Quite frankly, this issue should have been part of the legalization bill. It should have been part and parcel with the legalization bill. Instead, we are left in a situation where we have a flawed half measure that very likely may not make it through this Parliament. It is another example of the failure of leadership on the part of the government.

Impaired DrivingStatements By Members

February 8th, 2019 / 11:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Peter Schiefke Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 2017, more than 69,000 Canadians were involved in accidents caused by impaired driving. Every accident involving alcohol or drugs is one accident too many.

While I am incredibly proud of the ambitious measures our government introduced to curb impaired driving accidents, including Bill C-46 that will reduce significantly DUI-related deaths in Canada, I am even prouder to be representing leaders in my community, like Tina Adams who joins us in Ottawa today, who are working to keep our roads safe.

In 2015, Tina was hit by an impaired driver while jogging on the streets of Hudson. After years of recovery and 19 operations, Tina is turning this incredibly challenging experience into an opportunity to give back to our community. She is now sharing her story in schools and before the end of this year, may even be joined by the driver convicted in the accident to talk about the experience and to highlight to the next generation the real consequences of impaired driving.

On behalf of the entire House, I want to thank her for her leadership and for helping to keep our community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges and so many others safe for all.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

December 10th, 2018 / 4 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, excuse me while I shed a few tears for the troubles of being in a majority government. The parliamentary secretary should have an inkling of understanding, because he once sat in this corner, of the vast amount of power a majority government wields in this place. Frankly, I find it inexcusable at this stage in the 42nd Parliament that the only substantive justice bills that have been passed by the current government are Bill C-14, which was the result of a court-ordered deadline, and Bill C-46, which, of course, was the companion bill to Bill C-45.

Our contention on this side of the House has been that it would have been unnecessary to even use time allocation if the government had taken the non-contentious parts of Bill C-32, which was rolled into Bill C-39, which was rolled into another bill, and made those a standalone bill. For example, we have provisions in the Criminal Code such as challenging someone to a duel, possessing crime comics and fraudulently practising witchcraft. For decades, legal scholars have complained that these faithful reproductions in the Criminal Code lead to confusion. It should have been no secret to officials in the justice department that as soon as the justice minister assumed her mandate, we could have moved ahead with a bill to get rid of those inoperable, redundant sections of the Criminal Code, probably with unanimous consent.

Looking back at the last three years of the government's legislative agenda, particularly with justice bills, would the parliamentary secretary not agree with me that it would have been smarter to package the non-contentious reforms of the Criminal Code in a standalone bill, rather than having us, at this stage, at three years, with not a single reform of the Criminal Code yet passed by this Parliament?