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

Sponsor

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, 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)

(Bill C-21. On the Order: Government Orders:)

May 9, 2018—Third reading of Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Customs Act—The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

(Bill, as amended, read the third time and passed on division)

(Bill C-68: On the Order: Government orders:)

June 13, 2018—Third reading of Bill C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence—The Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

(Motion for third reading deemed moved, bill read the third time and passed on division)

(Bill C-62. On the Order: Government Orders:)

June 11, 2018—Consideration at report stage of C-62, an act to amend the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act and other acts, as reported by the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities without amendment—The President of the Treasury Board.

(Bill concurred in, read the third time and passed on division)

(Bill C-64. On the Order: Government Orders:)

June 19, 2018—Third reading of Bill C-64, an act respecting wrecks, abandoned, dilapidated or hazardous vessels and salvage operations—The Minister of Transport.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

(Motion No. 24. On the Order: Government Orders:)

May 28, 2018—Ways and Means motion to implement a multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting.

(Motion agreed to on division)

(Bill C-82. On the Order: Introduction of Bills:)

May 28, 2018—First reading of Bill C-82, An Act to implement a multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting—Minister of Finance

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

(Bill C-46. On the Order: Government Orders:)

June 14, 2018—Consideration of the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-46, an act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) and to make consequential amendments to other acts—The Minister of Justice.

(Motion agreed to on division)

(Bill C-50. On the Order: Government Orders:)

June 14, 2018—Consideration of the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-50, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act (political financing)—The Minister of Democratic Institutions.

(Motion agreed to on division)

June 4, 2018—That the 64th Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs entitled, “Code of Conduct for Members of the House of Commons: Sexual Harassment between Members”, presented to the House on Monday, June 4, 2018, be concurred in.

(Motion agreed to)

June 19, 2018—Notice of Motion—That, pursuant to Standing Order 111.1(2) and in accordance with subsection 79.1(1) of the Parliament of Canada Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. P-1, the House approve the appointment of Yves Giroux as Parliamentary Budget Officer for a term of seven years—Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

(Motion agreed to on division)

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2018 / 9 p.m.
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Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, there have been discussions among the parties and I believe if you seek it you will find unanimous consent for the following motion.

I move:

That notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, following routine proceedings on Wednesday, June 20, 2018:

(a) Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Customs Act, be deemed read a third time and passed on division;

(b) Bill C-62, An Act to amend the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act and other Acts, be deemed concurred in at the report stage on division and deemed read a third time and passed on division;

(c) Bill C-64, An Act respecting wrecks, abandoned, dilapidated or hazardous vessels and salvage operations, be deemed read a third time and passed;

(d) Bill C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence, be deemed read a third time and passed on division;

(e) Ways and Means No. 24 be deemed adopted on division, and that the Bill standing on the Order Paper in the name of the Minister of Finance entitled, An Act to implement a multilateral convention to implement tax treaty related measures to prevent base erosion and profit shifting, be deemed read a first time;

(f) the motion respecting Senate Amendments to Bill C-46, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences relating to conveyances) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, standing on the Notice Paper in the name of the Minister of Justice, be deemed adopted on division;

(g) the motion respecting Senate Amendments to Bill C-50, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (political financing), standing on the Notice Paper in the name of the Minister of Democratic Institutions, be deemed adopted on division;

(h) the 64th Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs entitled, Code of Conduct for Members of the House of Commons: Sexual Harassment between Members, presented to the House on Monday June 4, 2018, be concurred in;

(i) the following motion be deemed adopted on division: “That, pursuant to Standing Order 111.1(2) and in accordance with subsection 79.1(1) of the Parliament of Canada Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. P-1, the House approve the appointment of Yves Giroux as Parliamentary Budget Officer for a term of seven years”; and

(j) the House shall stand adjourned until Monday, September 17, 2018, provided that, for the purposes of any Standing Order, it shall be deemed to have been adjourned pursuant to Standing Order 28 and be deemed to have sat on Thursday, June 21 and Friday, June 22, 2018.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

June 18th, 2018 / 12:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Bill Blair Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to advise the member that president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, as well as the chair of the law amendments committee and the traffic committee, appeared before the justice committee on Bill C-46, the impaired driving bill. They commended the government for the comprehensive legislation that was brought forward. It responded to their concerns.

In 2008, they asked for money to train drug addiction experts; they were ignored. In 2009, they asked for mandatory breathe screening; they were ignored. In 2013, they asked for access to oral fluid test kits; they were ignored.

We said that we would provide them with access to those resources and that training and give them the legislative authority to use them. The very last comment from the president of the CACP was that this government was listening.

MarijuanaOral Questions

June 14th, 2018 / 3 p.m.
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Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, Parliament is in the process of dealing with two very important pieces of legislation, Bill C-45 and Bill C-46. They are, together, making some of the most profound changes ever with respect to the legal handling of cannabis in the history of Canada. When that process is completed, the law will change, and at that time, the government will consider all appropriate measures to ensure fairness in our system.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

June 13th, 2018 / 5:25 p.m.
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NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Madam Speaker, I think I speak for every member of the House, and we can join issue, with the fact that nobody countenances or endorses any Canadian operating any kind of machinery, whether a motor vehicle or anything else, or coming to work under the influence of cannabis. We all agree with that.

I would also point out that it is against the law now. People cannot operate motor vehicles under the influence of cannabis now. Canadians should be well aware of that. We have impaired driving laws in the country. The current law that is before the Senate, Bill C-46, is an attempt to modernize that law with a specific focus on cannabis. There are certain problems with that bill too, by the way, which is that it seems to be quite difficult right now to get an accurate reading of impairment or set an appropriate per se blood limit reading for cannabis. There are some problems with that.

At the moment, we all know that driving under the influence of cannabis is against the law, and it should be treated that way.

I want to talk about whether we are ready or not. Very many times Canadians are ahead of politicians. The vast majority of Canadians have voted with their actions for years now. Millions of Canadians have used cannabis and continue to use cannabis, and they do not feel they are criminals by doing so. This law is an attempt to catch up to the reality in Canada.

Cannabis ActGovernment Orders

June 13th, 2018 / 4:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to say that this will probably be my last opportunity to speak to Bill C-45, so I want to make sure I give it full coverage.

The government says that the reason it is bringing in this legislation is that what is in place now is not working. What is proposed under Bill C-45 is not going to work either, even with the many amendments that have been brought forward.

What was this bill supposed to do in the first place? If we refer to the purpose of the bill, it is supposed to “protect the health of young persons by restricting their access to cannabis”. We can see right away a couple of things in the bill that are going to put cannabis into the hands of young children. First is clause 8, which would allow young people aged 12 to 17 to have up to five grams of cannabis. That is the wrong message in any universe.

We have talked about home grow and how when people have in excess of 600 grams of cannabis growing in a house, young people are likely to get hold of it, in the same way they get hold of liquor in the liquor cabinet. This is certainly not going to keep cannabis out of the hands of young children.

Furthermore, I would say that if the government has a belief that the systems being put in place in some provinces are going to help out, let me assure the House that Kathleen Wynne put in a process in Ontario of LCBO-type stores and delivery. For people in Sarnia—Lambton, the closest store is in London. If they called their drug dealers today, in about 30 minutes they could have whatever quantity they wanted delivered to their houses for about $7 a gram. The government has proposed a price of $10 a gram, with $1 in tax on top of that. If it thinks that is going to work to displace the organized crime that is in place, it is sadly mistaken.

The other item I want to talk about with respect to youth is the public education that was supposed to happen. The Canadian Medical Association has been clear that among young people under the age of 25 who use cannabis, 30% will have severe mental illness issues, such as psychotic disorders, bipolar, anxiety, and depression, and 10% will become addicted. Where is the public education on that? Where is the message to tell young people today that this is harmful? That message is not out there. Young people are saying, “It's no more harmful than alcohol.” They are not getting the message.

The only public campaign that has been done was done by the Minister of Public Safety, who did a brief TV commercial to let kids know that they should not drive while they are drug-impaired, which, while true, is totally inadequate to have the kind of public education that was recommended by Colorado and the State of Washington. Colorado did $10 million worth of public education for a population that is lot smaller than what Canada has. The State of Washington did the same.

We are certainly not going to achieve the first objective of keeping it out of the hands of children. What about some of the others? Will we provide for only the legal production of cannabis “to reduce illicit activities in relation to cannabis”? If we look at all the places that have legalized marijuana, we see that in Colorado, which allowed home grow, it still has significant issues with organized crime. The police have a lot of nuisance complaints, and there are entire residential neighbourhoods that smell. There are lots of problems there.

We can look at the State of Washington, which decided that it would not allow home grow, except in the case of medicinal marijuana. It was able, in three years, to reduce organized crime to less than 20%. Because it had set the age at 21, it was able to make it difficult for young people to actually get hold of marijuana. It is unlikely that 21-year-olds would be sharing with 17-year-olds, unlike with the legislation we have before us.

Another problem that has not been addressed by the government with respect to home grow concerns property-owner rights. In Ontario and Quebec, once this legislation is passed, property owners would be unable to prevent people from growing marijuana in their houses. For those who are maybe less experienced, when growing marijuana, there can often be a mould problem in the house. I have been approached by the real estate associations, which have asked questions. Currently, when there is a home grow in a house, and the house is sold, they have to do a total remediation for the mould and a recertification of the house. They want to know if they are going to have to do that for all the home grows. That question has not been answered by the government.

The other question that has not been answered by the government has to do with the impact at the border. I live in a border community. Conversations have been had with Homeland Security and with border officials. They have said, “Canada is changing its law. We are not changing our law federally. It still is illegal federally, and we are not adding resources because of Canada's law.” Dogs will sniff. If people have second-hand smoke residue on their clothes, if a kid borrowed the car and happened to be out with other kids who were smoking marijuana, if people smoke themselves and do not happen to have any with them but have the residue, the dogs will sniff it out, and people will be pulled over into secondary, and they will go through the standard procedure there. The problem is that there is not enough secondary for the number of people who will be pulled over. When asked what they will do then, they said they would put a cone in the lane the person is in and perform the secondary inspection there, which will back everything up. They have informed us to expect an increase of up to 300% in wait times at the border.

The government has known about this for two and a half years. It has done nothing to establish any kind of agreement with the government of the U.S., other than to say to make sure that people tell the truth. That, of course, is great advice, but it will not prevent the wait times and the problems that are going to be seen at the border.

Furthermore, the government has not educated young people to understand that if they are caught with marijuana in the U.S., it is a lifetime ban from that country. The U.S. is not the only country that will ban people for the possession of marijuana. There are a lot of countries in the world. Young people who intend to have a global career are not being informed about this, and there could be very adverse consequences from the public education that has not happened.

This bill was also supposed to “reduce the burden on the criminal justice system”. Unfortunately, we know that the justice minister is behind the eight ball in terms of putting judges in place. She is about 60 short. Because of that, we see murderers and rapists going free due to Jordan's principle. If there were an intent on the part of the Liberals to try to clear the backlog and make sure that those who have committed more serious crimes receive punishment, one of the things they could have done, as was suggested many times, even since last September, was let those who have marijuana charges drop off the list and get out of the queue so that the more serious offences could be prosecuted. Of course, the Liberals have done nothing with respect to that, and so again, they are not going to actually offload them from the system. In fact, there would be more criminal charges under this legislation than previously existed, because now, if people had five plants instead of four, that would be an offence. Now, if they had 31 grams instead of 30, that would be an offence. Now there would be offences for transferring it to younger people. There would be a lot of offences that did not exist previously, so definitely, we will not achieve that goal.

There was the goal to ”provide access to a quality-controlled supply of cannabis”. Now that they would allow home grow, and everyone is going to be doing their own thing, there would actually be no management of the quality control of this product. That is also not acceptable.

Some of the other unanswered questions we see have to do with workplace safety. This was raised when the marijuana issue was studied by the original council. There was testimony brought to committee. There were questions raised all over the place. How are we going to protect the employers, who have the liability, and the other employees, who are worried? They are worried about people who may come to work drug impaired. We do not want to be flying with Air Canada and have the pilot impaired. We do not want to have people operating nuclear plants who may be drug impaired.

Bill C-46 was supposed to be the companion legislation to Bill C-45. Bill C-46 was going to allow mandatory and random testing on the roadside, because, as people know, it is dangerous to smoke drugs and then drive a car. That was going to open the door, then, for people to say that if it is dangerous to smoke drugs and drive a car, perhaps it is also dangerous to then drive a plane or drive a train or operate a nuclear plant, or any of these other things. The question of workplace safety and how we are going to protect and what legislation is going into place is a total blank space.

We have not looked to our neighbours to the south that have legalized and have both mandatory and random testing in place. I worked on many projects, and I actually had an office in the States at one point in time, so I know that American employers are able to screen people before they hire them. They are able to mandatory test them, and they are able to random test them. The government has totally lacked leadership in addressing the issue of workplace safety, etc.

With respect to the actual amendments that have come, some were good and some were not good. One amendment that was brought would allow 18-year-olds to share their marijuana or allow parents in a home to share their marijuana. I am glad the government decided not to accept that one.

I am still concerned about the fact that there is even marijuana in the house. However, if that amendment was accepted it definitely would not have not been keeping marijuana out of the hands of young children.

One of the amendments that they did not accept had to do with the banning of promotional things like T-shirts, caps, and flags that would have a cannabis symbol on them. The government did not accept this amendment from the Senate. I am very concerned about that.

There are a lot of Canadians out there who are worried that when marijuana is legalized in Canada they are going to use Canada Day flags that have cannabis on them. Everybody will have a T-shirt with cannabis on it. That will be disgusting. It will absolutely denigrate our country and the people who have served our country and made Canada a proud country. It will deface that. The government has allowed people to continue to have that kind of paraphernalia by refusing the language here. It is total hypocrisy because under Bill S-228, which talks about prohibiting unhealthy advertising to children, we would not want to see pop or something like that on a T-shirt or a flag. However, with cannabis, it is okay. I am totally opposed to that.

Another thing that the government should have taken into account was the amendment that was brought on capping the potency of THC. We have heard reports from all over Canada, as people are increasingly trying marijuana for the first time or experiencing B.C. bud, which purportedly has one of the highest THC contents and a lot of potency, that people are presenting at the emergency wards with uncontrollable vomiting due to THC poisoning. Knowing that a part of the intent of this bill is to protect the health of Canadians and of youth, I cannot understand why the government would not recognize that there needs to be some control on the potency of things that are out in the marketplace.

Some of the amendments were compassionate and talked about giving people more time to pay their fines. I thought that was good that the government accepted those. I also thought it was good that they would, for young people, ages 12 to 17, who were experiencing an offence, look at ticketed offences, which is something that we would have supported, and restorative justice options.

If we look to countries that are doing the best job of intervening and helping people to get off drugs, look to Portugal. If anyone is found in possession of drugs there, they are given an intervention with a medical person, a psychiatrist, and a legal person. They then try to figure out what the root cause is of why these people are self-medicating or why are they becoming addicted, and what can be done to help get them off of it, in terms of mental health therapies or drug addiction therapies, etc. We need to look at this whole thing.

The other part that I think is unfortunate is that the indigenous people have not been adequately consulted. I was very disappointed to find that in September of last year, when we first heard at committee from Chief Day and from the Métis nation, they said they had not been adequately consulted. It is disheartening to hear that again when this went before the Senate, the same message came out that they had not been adequately consulted, and that they wanted to have the ability within their own communities to define whether or not cannabis would be allowed. Apparently under federal law, it was clarified to them that if it is a federal right of Canadians to possess cannabis, then it is not something that they would be able to go against. There was some resistance about that based on the sovereignty of the indigenous peoples. I think that was not resolved to their satisfaction.

It is worrisome that the government continues to rush ahead. It says that this is the most important relationship, the nation-to-nation relationship, yet it is willing to go and throw gasoline on a fire in terms of moving ahead when it has been asked not to do so.

Some of the other questions that arose at committee that really have not been adequately answered have to do with a lot of the detailed specifics about who is going to pay. Municipalities are saying there will be a cost to them to implement it, but they have not been included in the cost breakdown or the agreements that have happened. That is of concern. There have also been concerns raised by people who currently are consuming medical marijuana, and their understanding is that they are going to be paying tax on that.

Typically, in Canada, prescription medicines are not taxed. Therefore, as long as people have a prescription from a doctor for their medicinal marijuana, my expectation would be that it would not be taxed. However, that is not what the government is saying. Also, there is language in the budget bill that is a little suspicious, which states it would exempt people from paying tax on medicinal marijuana that has a drug identification number. The problem with that is that there are no medications that have a drug identification number because there are so many different components in marijuana that the companies have not been able to spend the research dollars required to characterize them or to effectively control the quality of them so that they could acquire a number like that. Therefore, that is a meaningless promise, for sure.

There were some amendments that were brought to bring this legislation in line with the tobacco legislation. I am in favour of having those things aligned. However, it seems unusual that the government would be spending $80 million to get people to stop smoking and then $800 million to get people to start smoking marijuana, especially when the Minister of Health just stood up and talked about how the government knows there are harmful effects.

One of the things I find very interesting, from a timing point of view, is that today Health Canada took the harmful impacts of cannabis off of its website. That was something that had been on the website. I had someone that brought it to my notice, and sent me a screenshot of what used to be there and a screenshot of what is not there now. It is very interesting that on the day that the Liberals want to see this legislation pass into law, it would suddenly take off of the website the information that shows there are harmful effects from cannabis not only to young people but also others.

Therefore, I would request that the government not hide things. Rather, it should try to be open and transparent, as it says it is always trying to be, and put that information back on the website. Every place that has legalized marijuana has said that one of the most important things to do is to invest in public education, and target that education not just to young people so that they understand the harmful effects this would have on their brains, but also to adults and parents who can influence young people, and the general public so that they can understand as well.

I am very concerned about some of the unintended consequences that will happen as a result of this legislation. I know there are people already smoking marijuana in Canada today. However, when it becomes legal, there will be many more who will decide to try it. They may not be informed about what the impact will be when they cross the border or what the impacts might be on their mental health or that of their children. They may not understand what the health impacts will be for them. They may not understand the ramifications with respect to their place of work and how they are going to impact both their employer and those who work around them.

That said, I am very opposed to the legalization of marijuana, which I have said on many occasions, not just because it is bad for people but because this bill has so many holes in it and so many unanswered questions, and there will be so many bad, unintended consequences for Canadians, that it will be left to the Conservative Party, when we come to victory in 2019, to clean up the mess made by the current government's moving forward in this rushed and irresponsible fashion to implement this bill.

This bill will absolutely not keep marijuana out of the hands of young children. It will not get organized crime out of this business. It will not unload our criminal justice system. It certainly will not provide access to a quality-controlled supply.

What we can expect is that on Canada Day there will be a lot of people out with their T-shirts on, totally insulting those Canadians who are proud of our country and who are not in agreement, and there are a lot of Canadians who are not in agreement with this legislation.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

June 7th, 2018 / 9:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Members are asking “what?” They may not know, but it seems there will be a Progressive Conservative majority government in Ontario. I am sorry to have to break that news to my friends across the way, but the Liberals may still get official party status. It is a harbinger of things to come in a year and a half in federal politics. One of the reasons we are likely to see a similar result for the Liberals in a year and a half is precisely their failures with respect to the justice system.

I will turn now to a much less happy subject, and that is the content of the Liberals' Bill C-75. We can call it a justice omnibus or “injustice” omnibus bill. It is over 300 pages, making various changes with respect to the framework around criminal justice. There are certainly problems with the way the Liberals are administering the justice system, problems in need of solutions. However, the proposals by the government do not improve the situation. In fact, they make the situation much worse.

There are so many different aspects of the bill. It pays to mention to some extent that this is an omnibus bill. The Liberals talked in the last election about not doing omnibus bills. They said that omnibus bills limited the scrutiny that could be applied to individual items, that they forced members to vote all at once on provisions, some of which they may think were laudable and others which they may think were not.

Coming from that election promise, we now find ourselves in a situation in this Parliament where it seems virtually all of the legislation we debate is omnibus legislation. It is interesting that we had previous bills before this Parliament that included many of the same provisions and then the government decided it would roll them all together in one massive omnibus bill. I guess the Liberals felt they were not being as effective in advancing their legislative agenda as they wanted to, but this is yet another case where we see the government going back on its promise. On the one hand is the commitment about how it would manage the parliamentary process, then we see, in practice, the government doing the exact opposite.

The arguments the Liberals use for bringing in these omnibus bills, which go against their previous commitments, are usually something to the effect of they think it is a really good bill, that there are a lot of good things in it, so they want to get it through. Whether it is a good bill is precisely what a robust parliamentary process is supposed to determine. That is why the appropriate level of scrutiny is necessary. There will probably be an opportunity to pull all sorts of quotes from the member for Winnipeg North and others decrying these process elements, which are now being deployed with full force under the Liberal government.

We have in front of us an omnibus bill. There are a number of different elements I want to discuss, as well as more broadly the government's failure to manage the justice system effectively.

Members will understand and appreciate how important the effective functioning of our justice system is, especially in a context where the courts have ruled that cases can be thrown out if they do not proceed within a particular time frame. We have seen very serious charges not proceed, simply on the basis of time and delay. Therefore, the management of the criminal justice system so these delays do not happen, so people are actually brought to justice on time, is critical for the protection of society and for ensuring justice is done for victims, for the criminal, and for everyone.

Why do we have this growing problem of delays? The most obvious reason, and a reason the government has been steadfast in refusing to address, is the government's failure to appoint judges.

The fact is, it took six months for the justice minister to appoint a single judge. The government lauds its judicial appointments on various fronts. I am sure that any justice minister would laud their own appointment choice, but we have to get the job done. It is fundamental to the effectiveness of our justice system that we achieve quality and the necessary quantity so that the work can proceed. Appointing justices should be the easy part. I do not suspect that there is any shortage of qualified people in this country who are interested in the position, yet the government has been very slow to proceed, and this has created a significant concern.

It is not as if nobody was suggesting the Liberals take action. Thank goodness we have a strong opposition, and a strong shadow minister and shadow deputy minister of justice who were specifically calling very early on for the government to move forward with the appointment of justices.

I can hear my friend for St. Albert—Edmonton asking the justice minister when she would finally do her job and start appointing judges. The justice minister responded to those questions day after day in question period, yet despite those questions being posed by the Conservatives, we simply did not see action.

We have this issue with court delays, and the government now seems to believe that one of the solutions to court delays is to reduce the penalty to allow for summary convictions. The effect of that is lower sentences for very serious crimes. That is sold by the government as a solution to a problem that it has created, but let us apply Occam's razor and try and take that obviously simpler solution, which is that the justice minister should do her job and appoint the necessary number of judges to ensure that we do not have court delays.

In the context of justifying itself, the government is saying that we are going to have summary convictions to try to fix the problem that we created. The Liberals are not admitting it, but that is the implication of what they are saying. We see proposals for summary convictions, meaning reduced charges for all kinds of various serious crimes. I think it is important for the House to identify and look at some of these crimes for which they are proposing reduced sentences. This is not an exhaustive list, but I want to identify some of the key ones.

There is participation in the activity of a terrorist group. I do not recall ever receiving phone calls in my office from people saying that we should have lighter sentences for those who participate in terrorist groups. Maybe members across the way have had a different experience. However, I do not think, especially in the present time and climate, that people are looking for that kind of approach with regard to those who are involved in a terrorist group.

As well, there is leaving Canada to participate in activities of a terrorist group. There is a possibility now that going to fight abroad with a terrorist organization like Daesh could be a subject of summary conviction and therefore lower sentences. There are other serious offences, but I would highlight those two terrorism-related offences, which are the first ones on my list for which we are hearing proposals in the proposed legislation for lighter sentences.

Concealment of identity while taking part in a riot would be a possible summary conviction, as well as breach of trust by a public officer. The idea of lighter sentences for public officers who breach trust is interesting. Why would the Liberals be proposing lighter sentences for public officers who breach trust? I cannot imagine why the Liberals are proposing lighter sentences for public officers who breach trust. We might pontificate about that, but I would perhaps risk venturing into unparliamentary territory.

There is municipal corruption. For example, if a former MP became the mayor of London, hypothetically, there is a possibility of lighter sentences for municipal corruption.

There is selling or purchasing office. I want to reassure the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities that this does not refer to selling or purchasing office equipment. This is selling or purchasing an office itself, which is a criminal offence. However, now it would possibly be a matter of summary conviction.

Another is influencing or negotiating appointments or dealing in offices. It is interesting that so many elements of political corruption are being proposed for lighter sentences in this bill. It is very interesting, but I cannot imagine why that would be.

For prison breach, there is a proposal for lighter sentences. Assisting a prisoner of war to escape is something that I hope does not happen often. It does not seem to me that this offence would be a good candidate for a lighter sentence, but the justice minister, and through this bill the government, is proposing lighter sentences in that case.

Obstructing or violence to or arrest of officiating clergymen is an item I want to come back to. It is something dealing with section 176 of the Criminal Code that we have already had some discussion on in this place. The government made some commitments with regard to not changing that section, and now it has gone back on those commitments by trying to re-engage that section through Bill C-75. I will come back to that and talk about it in more detail in a few minutes.

There are also lighter sentences proposed for keeping a common bawdy house and for causing bodily harm by criminal negligence.

There are three drunk-driving-related offences: impaired driving causing bodily harm; blood alcohol level over legal limit, with bodily harm; and failure or refusal to provide a sample, with bodily harm. Canadians who are concerned about combatting drunk driving and drug-impaired driving should be, and I think are, a bit frustrated by some of the back-and-forth that we see from the current government. It is frustrating to me as I follow the positions the Liberals take on some things and not on others.

A member of the Conservative caucus proposed a very strong private member's bill that included a number of provisions dealing with drunk driving. That bill was supported by, I think, all members of this House at second reading. Then it was killed after committee, yet many very similar provisions were included in the government's bill, Bill C-46. The government has not been able to pass that bill ahead of its marijuana legislation. The Liberals said it is critical we have these provisions around drunk driving in place, and they proposed it at the same time as Bill C-45, the marijuana legalization bill. They said these things were important together, and they are willing at the same time to pass the marijuana legalization bill ahead of the drunk and drug-impaired driving bill.

Many of the same provisions were already proposed by a Conservative private member's bill. I recall the speech the parliamentary secretary for justice gave at the same time with respect to my colleague's private member's bill, when he quibbled with the bill on such trivial grounds as the coming-into-force date of the bill being too soon. They said they could not pass this bill combatting drunk driving officially because the coming-into-force date was too soon. They can propose an amendment to change that. It was really because the Liberals wanted to try to claim credit for some of the provisions there. Again, we have this further question about the government's response on issues of alcohol-impaired driving because they are creating conditions for a summary conviction around that issue.

Let me list some other offences: receiving a material benefit associated with trafficking; withholding or destroying documents associated with trafficking; abduction of a person under 16; abduction of a person under 14; material benefit from sexual services; forced marriage; polygamy; marriage under age of 16 years; advocating genocide; arson for fraudulent purposes; participating in activities of criminal organizations.

We have a great deal of discussion about the government's feminist agenda, and yet on some of these crimes, such as forced marriage or polygamy, crimes that very often involve an abusive situation targeting young women, the government is reducing sentencing that targets those who commit those kinds of crimes. It is unfortunate to see the government talking about trying to respond to some of these problems that exist, and then when it comes to criminal justice, they think it is acceptable to propose lighter sentences in these cases.

I have a number of other comments I will make about this bill in the time I have left to speak.

There is a proposal in this legislation to get rid of peremptory challenges. This is a provision that we are interested in studying and exploring, but I think that even if there is an inappropriate use of peremptory challenge in some cases, we should be careful not to throw out a provision if there may be other negative consequences that have not been discussed.

Some of the discussion around peremptory challenges suggests, on the one hand, that they can be used to remove people from juries on the basis of racial profiling. Essentially, somebody is racially profiled and presumed to think in a certain way, so they are removed on the basis of a peremptory challenge.

People have countered those criticisms by saying that on the other hand, peremptory challenges could be used against those who express or have expressed or give indication of having extreme or bigoted views. Sometimes the law needs to recognize other potential impacts that are maybe not being fully foreseen.

We think this issue of peremptory challenges is very much worthy of study at the committee level, but I encourage members, in the spirit of appropriate legislative caution, to work out and consider the full consequences of changes to the structure of our jury system, recognizing that even if there may be negative consequences to this provision in particular situations, removing peremptory challenges may create other unconsidered negative consequences as well.

I want to speak about section 176. This is a very important section of the Criminal Code that specifically addresses the targeting of religious officials or the disruption of worship, things that in many cases would likely lead to some charge anyway, though not in every case. It ensures that somebody who is trying to disrupt the practice of faith is treated in an proportionate way. That is what section 176 does.

The government had previously tried to get rid of section 176, to remove it from the Criminal Code. The justification was weak. It said that because the language used was “clergymen”, it was somehow narrow in its definition and applied to only one faith and one gender. The point was amply made in response that although the language was somewhat archaic, it was very clear that it applied broadly to any religious official and to any religious institution.

The section was subsequently qualified. There is nothing wrong with clarifying the language, but it was always clear and never seriously in dispute that it applied broadly and on an equal basis.

It was through public pressure, the work of the opposition in partnership with many groups in civil society in raising the alarm about this, that the government backed away at the time from its proposal to remove section 176. Now section 176 is back before us. The government is not proposing to remove it; it is just proposing to change it to a possible summary conviction, again meaning a lighter sentence.

Again we are raising a question that is similar to the discussion around drunk driving. There is this kind of back-and-forth, bait and switch approach with the government, but it is clear that there is this repeated attempt to weaken the laws that protect religious institutions and the practice of faith. Some of the time the government is very glad to trumpet its commitment—for instance, in its talk about combatting Islamophobia—but when we have a concrete provision in the Criminal Code that protects people's ability to practise their faith without interruption, we see not one but multiple attempts by the government to move against it.

There is so much more to say about Bill C-75, which is over 300 pages, that I could talk for hours, but my time has expired.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 10 p.m.
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Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Marco Mendicino LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, where to begin? There is just so much that is fundamentally wrong in my learned colleague's remarks.

Let us start with the Conservative record on judicial appointments: based on partisanship, and at a slow rate that prevented individuals from getting access to justice. Let us then continue to the member's comments on what this bill would do when it comes to the hybridization of offences. When it comes to Conservative commentary, there is scarcely another area that is more misrepresented and more misleading to the public than the hybridization of offences.

The hybridization of offences is informed by the independent, properly exercised discretion of the crown, the prosecutor. One of the things the prosecutor is required to take into consideration is the seriousness of the offence, whether or not somebody has been hurt. That will determine where the offence goes, whether it goes to superior court or whether it stays in summary court. However, in no way does it detract from the fitness of a sentence, which will be imposed by a judge.

Lastly, my friend touched on a number of other bills besides Bill C-75, one of which is Bill C-46. This is perhaps the most perplexing of all his comments. I hear my hon. colleagues heckling. He wants to keep the roads safe, but his Conservative colleague in the Senate is now opposed to mandatory alcohol screening, the number one deterrent that would keep our roads safer. How does the member explain that?

June 5th, 2018 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Jody Wilson-Raybould Liberal Vancouver Granville, BC

You reiterated that quite well in terms of other jurisdictions and the charter implications with respect to mandatory alcohol screening. With regard to Bill C-46, mandatory alcohol screening is the centre of our proposed renovation of the impaired driving laws in Canada. As you said, in other jurisdictions that have mandatory alcohol screening, those who would have gone undetected—going through a road stop, for example—are in the range of about 50%.

The idea of having mandatory alcohol screening as a reality would be a significant deterrent in terms of those individuals who think it's appropriate to get behind the wheel of their car when they have been drinking alcohol or are impaired by drugs. The objective with respect to mandatory alcohol screening is to ensure that individuals do not do that, that they do not get behind the wheel while impaired by any kind of alcohol or drug.

I was very disappointed when the senators voted to remove mandatory alcohol screening. This is, again, the hallmark of Bill C-46. We are determined to have mandatory alcohol screening contained within this legislation as it proceeds, because it will save lives. MADD Canada has backed mandatory alcohol screening, and 40-some jurisdictions throughout the world have proven, based on evidence, that this saves lives. This saves lives, and what could be more important than that?

June 5th, 2018 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Colin Fraser Liberal West Nova, NS

Minister, I agree with you that in implementing the unified family courts along with the implementation of Bill C-78, which is currently before Parliament, this will have a big effect on the efficiencies in the family law system in Canada. With Bill C-78 it's the first time in over 20 years there's been a major overhaul and update in our divorce laws. That will really help a lot of families in Canada who are going through those challenging circumstances.

I want to turn now to Bill C-46, which was touched on earlier, and the provision in the bill dealing with mandatory alcohol screening. Our committee studied Bill C-46, and one of the things stated over and over again to our committee was that to reduce the incidence of impaired driving, there needs to be a fear of getting caught. That's really what will be important in reducing the incidence of people being impaired on our roads.

We've heard that mandatory alcohol screening in other jurisdictions has worked. I know that there has been some discussion about whether it's constitutional, but there are constitutional experts who have weighed in who believe that the provision is justified under the charter. The main reason for this is that it is of compelling public interest to reduce the harm of impaired driving on our roads.

I know that this bill is currently in the other place. It's before the Senate right now. The House of Commons has already passed that. What do you say about the importance of getting Bill C-46 passed by both houses of Parliament and into law, along with the provision of mandatory alcohol screening, to reduce the incidence of drinking and driving on our roads and impaired driving overall?

June 5th, 2018 / 3:45 p.m.
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Carole Morency Director General and Senior General Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Policy Sector, Department of Justice

Just to clarify, Bill C-46 proposes to hybridize what is currently a straight indictable offence of impaired driving causing bodily harm.

Bill C-75 proposes a consequential amendment, because Bill C-75 is proposing to hybridize a number of offences and in doing so it's using a particular approach and wording, so the only consequential relationship between Bill C-75 and Bill C-46 is that the wording that's proposed to be adopted as part of the broader package in C-75 would be reflected in the impaired driving causing bodily harm hybridization as well.

June 5th, 2018 / 3:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Jody Wilson-Raybould Liberal Vancouver Granville, BC

Yes, they're supportive of the contents of Bill C-46 and the various provisions it contains.

June 5th, 2018 / 3:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

That being said, you said that with the passage of Bill C-46, we'll have the toughest sentencing regime with respect to impaired driving. Do you not think there's anything inconsistent with the possibility that part of the penalty could be a summary conviction? In terms of the toughest sentences in the world, I'll be very interested and we'll have a lot of witnesses who come forward. I'd be fascinated to hear if this is the case in any other jurisdiction.

Do you know of any other jurisdiction, particularly in the common law, where you could be convicted of impaired driving causing bodily harm and you might be subject to a penalty as low as a fine?

June 5th, 2018 / 3:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Jody Wilson-Raybould Liberal Vancouver Granville, BC

I did hear the Minister of Public Safety speak in the House today. I believe what he was referencing is that, with the passage of Bill C-46, we will be among the countries with the toughest impaired driving laws in the world. I'm very hopeful that this bill is going to proceed through the other place.

In terms of the hybridization of offences, we've had the opportunity to have these discussions in a number of different forums. What we are doing with respect to the hybridization of offences is giving prosecutors the necessary discretion, as the member knows very well, to proceed by way of summary conviction or indictment, and this does not in any way touch on the sentencing, the fundamental principles of sentencing. This is, again, to provide the discretion to prosecutors to proceed in either fashion, recognizing that proceeding by way of summary offences, where the situation merits, will contribute to quicker processing or moving through the courts to address delays, in the comprehensive package that we've put in place with respect to Bill C-75.

I will say that, with respect to the impaired driving offence that Mr. Nicholson raises, the hybridization of that particular offence was something that was contained within Bill C-226 by his colleague Steven Blaney. This was something that was in that particular piece of legislation, as was something I'm very proud of that is contained within Bill C-46, mandatory alcohol screening.

MarijuanaOral Questions

June 5th, 2018 / 2:55 p.m.
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Regina—Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, both bills, Bill C-45 and Bill C-46, are extremely important. Bill C-46 includes the toughest measures in the world to deal with impaired driving.

We have worked very carefully with all members of Parliament, with the Senate, with provinces, and with law enforcement agencies to get this strengthened law in place. I look forward to the Conservative Party actually supporting Bill C-46, because some of the elements in that bill were originally proposed by the hon. member.