An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and the Abolition of Early Parole Act

Sponsor

Ralph Goodale  Liberal

Status

Second reading (House), as of June 19, 2017

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Summary

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

This enactment amends the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to, among other things,

(a) reintroduce the expression “least restrictive” in certain provisions of the Act;

(b) provide that an inmate must be released from administrative segregation before the end of the 21st day of that confinement, unless the institutional head orders that the inmate is to remain in administrative segregation;

(c) provide that an independent external reviewer, appointed by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, will review the case of an inmate who is ordered to remain in administrative segregation after that 21st day and in other circumstances;

(d) provide that the independent external reviewer shall, after the review, make a recommendation to the institutional head as to whether or not the inmate should be released from administrative segregation;

(e) provide that, 18 months after the amendments referred to in paragraph (b) come into force, the 21-day limit referred to in that paragraph is reduced to a 15-day limit;

(f) provide that the head of the appropriate regional headquarters of the Correctional Service of Canada shall, in the circumstances prescribed by regulation, order that an inmate is to be released from, or to remain in, administrative segregation;

(g) provide for a comprehensive review of the legislative and regulatory reforms to the administrative segregation regime, to be conducted five years after those reforms take effect; and

(h) reintroduce the requirement that the Parole Board of Canada hold hearings following a suspension, termination or revocation of parole or statutory release.

This enactment also amends the Abolition of Early Parole Act to provide that the accelerated parole review process under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act continues to apply to offenders in respect of an offence committed before the day on which the Abolition of Early Parole Act came into force.

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.

November 9th, 2017 / 8:45 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Regina—Wascana, SK

Peter Hill is the associate vice-president in the programs branch of CBSA.

Anne Kelly is the senior deputy commissioner for the Correctional Service of Canada.

I am happy to have this opportunity to speak to you this morning on supplementary estimates (B). We are requesting these authorizations in order to continue to ensure the safety of Canadians, while protecting our rights and freedoms.

Before I get into the estimates, though, Mr. Chair, I want to take a moment to recognize that we are meeting this morning only a few days after Constable John Davidson of the Abbotsford Police Department was shot and killed in the line of duty.

In our jobs, we are privileged to meet police and other public safety officers and to deepen our appreciation of the difficult, dangerous, and absolutely indispensable work they do. We certainly share in the pain and in the profound sense of loss when an officer falls in the line of duty. I know that all of you join me in offering our sincere condolences to Constable Davidson's family and friends, to Chief Rich and his colleagues on the police force, and to the entire community at Abbotsford.

Now we turn to the matter at hand. The public safety portfolio in these estimates is requesting adjustments resulting in a net increase in authorities of $223 million. As always, our objective is to keep Canadians safe, while at the same time safeguarding rights and freedoms. In my remarks this morning, I will briefly explain how the authorities we are seeking in these supplementary estimates would do that.

The largest chunk of this funding will go to the RCMP, including over $60 million to implement the salary increases announced in April, which will be paid retroactively going back to January 1, 2015. We are also seeking over $28 million in integrity funding. I was pleased to note that the recent economic update also included an additional $100 million to support RCMP operations and the RCMP External Review Committee. This funding reflects some of the remedial measures that we took after the RCMP underwent over half a billion dollars in cuts between 2011 and 2015, to ensure RCMP members have the resources and support they need to keep doing their job of protecting communities and the country.

As you know, we've also passed Bill C-7, to bring the RCMP labour relations regime into compliance with the charter and with a judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada. That will, for the first time ever, give members of the force the right to bargain collectively. That legislation received royal assent in June, and the process of certifying a bargaining agent is now under way.

As all members will know, two studies on harassment in the force were completed earlier this year, one by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission and the other by former Auditor General Sheila Fraser. Both of these reports are informing our way forward as we continue working to ensure the RCMP provides its employees with a safe and healthy workplace. Of course, that objective applies to every department and agency of the Government of Canada.

We've stepped up recruiting, with the RCMP training academy in Regina graduating 938 new officers in the fiscal year 2016-17. That's almost triple the number from 2013-14. The current year should generate another 1,100 new graduates, and then more than 1,200 in 2018-19. I've had the privilege of attending several graduation ceremonies at Depot, and welcoming Canada's newest Mounties to an organization with a long and proud history. You can be assured that I will keep doing everything I can to make sure that the RCMP's best days lie ahead of it, despite its fantastic history.

The RCMP is also included among the recipients of the $274 million over five years that we announced this past summer to support law enforcement bodies in their efforts to combat impaired driving.

In these estimates, Public Safety Canada, CBSA, and the RCMP are seeking a combined total of $20.1 million for the implementation of an initiative to build capacity to address drug-impaired driving.

We also recognize the importance of public education. That's why my department is seeking an additional $2.5 million to raise awareness about the risks and consequences of drug-impaired driving. This funding will support an upcoming advertising campaign to discourage Canadians, especially young and new drivers, from driving after using drugs. It will also build on a social media campaign we ran last March targeting young drivers and their parents.

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is the leading criminal cause of death and injury in Canada. This funding and the important new legislative measures in Bill C-46 are important parts of our efforts to prevent, detect, and punish impaired driving and to keep our roads safe.

Some $9.2 million is also being sought for the Department of Public Safety, the RCMP, and CBSA related to the new cannabis framework to be implemented next year. These include measures to ensure that organized crime is kept effectively out of the new legal system for dealing with cannabis and to beef up interdiction at the border.

Mr. Chair, we are also seeking authorities related to some of the extreme weather events Canadians have experienced this year. Severe flooding caused a great deal of damage to homes and communities in several provinces across Canada this past spring, particularly in Quebec and Ontario. As well, this summer's wildfire season in British Columbia was, as we know, one of the worst in recent memory. We are deeply grateful to the brave firefighters and other first responders who answered the call, as they always do, as well as the many ordinary—or, rather, extraordinary—Canadians who filled sandbags, volunteered at shelters, and generally stepped up to help friends, neighbours, and strangers in need.

When a natural disaster strikes, one of our key partners is always the Canadian Red Cross. The organization contributed greatly to a number of relief activities this year, including distributing immediate financial assistance to evacuees. We are pleased to contribute to the Red Cross, including $1 million to support its flood relief efforts across Canada this past spring and $38.6 million to support its relief efforts related to the B.C. wildfires. These transfers account for a portion of the total authorities we're requesting today.

Finally, Mr. Chair, the Correctional Service of Canada is requesting $12 million to address the needs of vulnerable offenders in the federal corrections system. Over 70% of male offenders and almost 80% of female offenders meet the criteria for some type of mental disorder, including substance abuse and misuse. To ensure that they receive proper care, you will recall, budget 2017 proposed investing $57.8 million over five years, starting this fiscal year, and then $13.6 million per year thereafter. These funds are for the expansion of mental health care supports in federal correctional facilities and follow up very specifically on advice we have received over time from the correctional investigator. CSC's requests for additional funding in these estimates are part of upholding this important commitment.

We also included in the budget over $110 million to support the reintegration of previously incarcerated indigenous people and to advance restorative justice approaches, and we have introduced, as you know, Bill C-56 on administrative segregation.

As you can see, we are focused on ensuring that federal correctional institutions provide safe and secure environments conducive to inmate rehabilitation, staff safety, and the protection of the public.

Mr. Chair, it's a big portfolio with lots of detail. I'll leave the detail at that and look forward to the next period with some questions.

Thank you.

Omnibus Bills—Speaker's RulingPoints of OrderOral Questions

November 7th, 2017 / 3:15 p.m.
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Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I am now prepared to rule on the point of order raised on October 31, 2017 by the hon. opposition House leader concerning the applicability of the new Standing Order 69.1 to Bill C-56, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and the Abolition of Early Parole Act.

I thank the hon. Opposition House Leader for raising this matter, as well as the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby for his contributions.

The opposition House leader contended that Bill C-56 contains two parts that should be separated through the application of Standing Order 69.1. One part amends the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to address issues relating to the use of administrative segregation. The other part aims to amend the Abolition of Early Parole Act in relation to accelerated parole for certain offenders. She argued that these two matters were unrelated and therefore invited the Chair to divide the question on the bill.

The hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby agreed with these arguments, and indicated that dividing the question on the bill would better allow members to represent their constituents.

éAs members will recall, the House adopted a series of changes to the Standing Orders on June 20, 2017. Since this is the first time I have been asked to render a decision using this new Standing Order, I would like to elaborate on certain aspects of its application. New Standing Order 69.1 provides as follows:

In the case where a government bill seeks to repeal, amend or enact more than one act, and where there is not a common element connecting the various provisions or where unrelated matters are linked, the Speaker shall have the power to divide the questions, for the purposes of voting, on the motion for second reading and reference to a committee and the motion for third reading and passage of the bill. The Speaker shall have the power to combine clauses of the bill thematically and to put the aforementioned questions on each of these groups of clauses separately, provided that there will be a single debate at each stage.

The power of the Chair to divide a complicated question has long existed in our parliamentary practice, though it has only rarely been exercised. The second edition of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, at pages 562 and 563, describes this power and enumerates the few examples of it being used. It also makes clear that this power had never traditionally applied to bills, but only to motions.

In her presentation, the hon. opposition House leader elaborated on several of these examples. In the Flag Debate of 1964, Speaker Macnaughton divided a motion into two questions, the first concerning the establishment of a new Canadian flag and the second concerning the continued use of the Union Jack.

In 1991, Speaker Fraser divided a 64-part motion to amend the Standing Orders into three separate questions.

In 2002, Speaker Milliken divided a lengthy motion to reinstate certain items of business into two questions, while ordering that another portion of the motion be considered separately.

Though not mentioned, a similar decision was rendered by my predecessor on October 17, 2013 in relation to a motion to reinstate certain items of business, where two separate votes were held.

The opposition House leader also referred to several examples of motions being divided in British practice, dating back to the late 19th century and the early 20th century.

Standing Order 69.1 empowers the Speaker, for the first time, to divide the question on a government bill both at second reading and third reading, except where the legislation has as its main purpose the implementation of a budget. In so doing, the Chair is to consider the degree to which the various provisions of a bill lack commonality.

Where a bill contains unrelated initiatives, the Speaker may group clauses thematically for the purposes of voting, maintaining a single debate. Though there may be multiple questions put to a vote for second or third reading, there remains only one bill. This is in contrast to cases where bills themselves have been divided, either as a result of a motion adopted in the House or an instruction given to a committee.

Since the analysis and division of a bill into different parts can sometimes be complex, I am grateful that the member raised her point of order as early as she did, prior to the commencement of debate at second reading.

Where members believe that the Standing Order should apply, I would encourage them to raise their arguments as early as possible in the process, especially given that the length of debate at a particular stage can be unpredictable. If an objection is raised too late in the process, the Chair may have no choice but to allow the matter to go to a single vote at second reading or third reading, as the case may be.

When the Chair finds that the Standing Order does apply and that the question should be divided on a bill, I will indicate to the House which elements will be grouped together for the purposes of voting. As I noted earlier, legislation is often complex and such divisions are not always simple. This is particularly the case when a bill contains coordinating and consequential amendments, as well as coming-into-force provisions, which impact various sections of the bill. In presenting their arguments in favour of the division of a question, members are encouraged to indicate which provisions they feel should be grouped together.

In the event that the House rejects certain provisions at second reading while adopting others, the adopted portions of the bill will be referred to committee. In such cases, I would order that the bill be reprinted for the committee’s consideration. In our current practice, reprints of a bill are generally only undertaken upon an order of a committee following the adoption of amendments or upon the passage of a bill at third reading. I believe, however, that when a portion of a bill has been rejected by the House at second reading, it would be useful for a committee to have a new version of the bill so that the measures contained in its order of reference are clear.

In the specific case of Bill C-56, after having examined the bill, I also concluded that the bill does indeed contain two distinct measures. The first part amends the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to implement a new regime for the administrative segregation of inmates. The second part, essentially clause 10 of the bill, amends the Abolition of Early Parole Act, dealing with the eligibility of certain offenders for accelerated parole reviews.

I note that the Abolition of Early Parole Act is the short title of “An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (accelerated parole review) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts”. This act was enacted in 2011 and repealed the accelerated parole review framework established by sections 125 and 126.1 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. With Bill C-56, the transitional provisions contained in the Abolition of Early Parole Act will be amended so that offenders who committed their offence prior to the law coming into effect in 2011 but who were sentenced only after that date may be eligible under the previous framework.

The hon. opposition House leader argued that, in this case, the two initiatives are unrelated and that members may well support the first and oppose the second. Members will know that many bills contain a number of initiatives on a number of policy areas, some of which members support and some of which they might oppose.

The amending process affords members an opportunity to propose changes, including the opportunity to remove portions of a bill to which they object. The question for the Chair, in applying Standing Order 69.1, is whether the matters are so unrelated as to warrant a separate vote at second and third reading.

At first glance, it may appear that the provisions in clause 10 of Bill C-56 are unrelated to the rest of the bill. However, the accelerated review process envisioned in that clause, as indicated earlier, was in fact set out in sections 125 to 126.1 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the very act which is amended by the other clauses of the bill.

Since the subject matter of the bill as a whole deals with the treatment of inmates, either in the case of administrative segregation under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act or in the application of the accelerated parole review process under that same act, it is my view that the two parts are indeed related and that, consequently, the question on Bill C-56 should not be divided.

I thank all honourable members for their attention in this matter.

Omnibus BillsPoints of OrderRoutine Proceedings

November 7th, 2017 / 10:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am rising to comment on the point of order raised last week by the hon. member for Carleton under Standing Order 69.1 to divide Bill C-63, the budget implementation bill, 2017, no. 2, so as to allow a separate vote on clause 176 and the bill's schedule concerning the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. I apologize in advance for a somewhat lengthy submission, but since we do not have precedents yet to guide us, there is still much ground to be covered.

To save some time, I am going to simply refer the Chair to the original point of order, as well as to the point of order raised by the official opposition House leader concerning Bill C-56 on October 31. Truth be told, I am not making extensive arguments because I am looking to somehow delay the business of the day, but because of what happened during the amendments made back in June and in the spring to the Standing Orders, when they were rushed through. There are many details left unaddressed, which need to be sorted out. Let that be the lesson of what happens when a government obsessed with doing things hastily rams through the House of Commons a platitude dressed up in legal language.

Now to the point of order, I believe that the hon. member for Carleton ably argued how Bill C-63 goes beyond the exemptions written in budget implementation bills. My argument goes to why, having established that the exemption does not apply, items that had some passing reference in the budget can be divided from the other budgetary provisions in the budget implementation bill. As the Chair undoubtedly is aware, the Quebec national assembly has a procedure to allow consideration of motions to order the division of a bill where there are different principles within that bill. Its jurisprudence could be helpful to us in this case.

Pages 399 and 400 of Parliamentary Procedure in Québec explain the process when a motion to divide a bill has been offered. It states:

The Chair rules on the admissibility of the motion, after examining the bill to determine whether it contains more than one principle.... criteria establishing whether or not a bill contains more than one principle have evolved out of jurisprudence. First, if the different parts of the bill constitute a fraction of a larger whole or principle, then the bill is not considered to contain more than one principle. Second, a distinction must be made between the essence and the mechanics or procedures of a bill. A principle is an essential element of a bill, whereas the mechanics are simply incidental to that principle. It should not be concluded that a bill contains more than one principle just because it comprises various procedures. Similarly, it should not be concluded that the principles that would result from a division are mere mechanics just because they can be grouped under a single theme.

The Chair can also consider other elements. For instance, although the explanatory notes have no legal value in identifying the principles of a bill, they may nevertheless indicate the existence of more than one principle. In one ruling, the Chair found that appending the text of an entire bill to another bill spoke volumes, and pointed out the difficulties of application created by this type of drafting. However, compliance with legislative drafting rules does not ensure than a bill contains only one principle.

The principle or principles contained in a bill must not be confused with the field it concerns. To frame the concept of principle in that way would prevent the division of most bills, because they each apply to a specific field. Furthermore, when determining the principle or principles of a bill, the Chair need not consider the importance given to certain parts of the bill, nor evaluate whether one part of the bill is incidental to another. The Chair should not seek to clarify the legislator's intention, but should simply read the text, without trying to interpret it. That being said, the Chair must necessarily analyze the provisions of the bill to determine whether they contain one or more principles. However, this must be done on the basis of the text itself and not by seeking to determine all the possible consequences of applying the bill once it has been adopted.

I have one more, shorter, quote from page 401 that adds:

The following conditions have also been established by parliamentary jurisprudence: each part of the divided bill must be able to stand on its own; each part of the divided bill must be more than a mere procedure; each bill resulting from the division must be a coherent whole, independent from the rest.... Parliamentary jurisprudence has established that, in a motion to divide, the sections of a bill cannot be rewritten in order to render the motion admissible, with the exception of the section relating to the coming into force of the bill. It is nonetheless possible to cut some words from a section provided that they are transposed integrally into the other bill.

Let me turn to the specific case of Bill C-63. Before we hear some more rebuttal on this, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the remaining provisions of Bill C-63 are all budgetary in nature. They are all economic in their effect.

Let me refer to the words on page 400 of Parliamentary Procedure in Québec. It is a shorter quote, which states:

The principle or principles contained in a bill must not be confused with the field it concerns. To frame the concept of principle in that way, would prevent the division of most bills, because they apply to a specific field.

—as I said.

In this case, we are talking about what might be claimed to be budgetary or economic policy.

The ruling of former Quebec national assembly vice-president Fatima Houda-Pepin on December 11, 2007, at page 2,513 of the Journal des débats makes the following point:

In this case, the bill contains more than one principle. Although the bill deals with road safety, the Chair cannot consider that to be the principle of Bill 42. The principle or principles of a bill should not be confused with the topic to which it pertains. Coming up with a different concept of the notion of principle would disqualify most bills from being subject to a division motion because they deal with a specific topic. In this case, the various means of ensuring road safety included in this bill could constitute distinct principles.

Indeed, I anticipate the Liberals may say that every piece of Bill C-63 is critical and integral to the entire legislative package and, if separated, would doom the whole initiative. To that, I offer the ruling of another former Quebec national assembly vice-president, Claude Pinard, on June 3, 1998, at page 11,651 of the Journal des débats:

In this case, this was rather an instructive exercise used to demonstrate that the principles of a bill do not necessarily coincide with its author's intentions. In other words, the Chair, when identifying the principles of a bill, does not have to wonder about whether certain parts of the bill are more important to the author than others, or whether the author considered one part of the bill incidental to another. To do otherwise would render Standing Order 241 inapplicable, and no other bill could be divided, since it would be very surprising that the author of a bill did not consider every part of his or her bill to be absolutely essential.

Next, I will turn to the practical considerations that must flow from a decision under Standing Order 69.1 to divide a bill. At second reading—and third reading, for that matter—Standing Order 69.1(1) is clear that there is to be a “single debate” at each stage. However, it does not give direction on the formulation of the question or questions to be proposed by the Chair.

Moreover, a practical consideration, especially for those of us on this side of the House, is the matter of amendment at second and third reading. Are we to be limited to one amendment, must it relate to the entire bill, or perhaps it is to be limited to a single portion of the divided bill? The answers to these questions turn, obviously, on how the Chair approaches and proposes the main motion or motions at second or third reading. An analogous process in Australia might be of assistance here. In the Commonwealth Parliament, the approach to omnibus bills is essentially to have a series of separate, individual bills but to handle them en bloc in a process known as “cognate debate”.

Page 389 of House of Representatives Practice, sixth edition, explains:

When there are related bills before the House, it frequently suits the convenience of the House, by means of the cognate debate procedure, to have a general second reading debate on the bills as a group rather than a series of separate debates on the individual bills. A proposal for a cognate debate is usually put to the House by the Chair when the first bill of the group is called on. If there is no objection the debate on the second reading of the first bill is then permitted to cover the other related bills, and no debate (usually) occurs when the questions on the second reading of the subsequent bills are put. Apart from this, normal procedures apply—the bills are taken in turn with separate questions put as required at each stage of each bill. If a Member wishes to move a second reading amendment to a bill encompassed by a cognate debate, other than to the first bill, the amendment may only be moved when the relevant order of the day for the later bill is called on.

To that end, I encourage you to devise some approach to permit multiple amendments to be on the floor, or at least in the public domain somehow during second reading and third reading. Alternatively, a stricter adaptation of the Australian approach with amendments being permitted to be moved before the putting of the questions on each part of a divided bill could also be fashioned. However, this latter approach has shortcomings, such as the very limited time available for members to consider an amendment or how it would intersect with the implementation of time allocation orders.

As an aside, the intersection of Standing Order 69.1 and motions offered under Standing Order 73(1) to refer bills to committee before second reading needs to be sorted out. My reading of Standing Order 69.1 excludes the option of Standing Order 73(1), given the very specific references in Standing Order 69.1(1) to, “the motion for second reading and reference to a committee”.

After the second reading stages, of course, is the committee stage. While the mechanics of a committee study do not change, there is the matter of whether the multiple votes trigger separate orders of reference. Indeed, do all the parts of the bill go to a single committee or potentially to multiple committees? Certainly, the government contemplated this multiple-committee scenario. The government House leader's infamous March discussion paper, which led to government Motion No. 18 and its new Standing Order 69.1, said “the divided bills could be sent to separate committees if the subject matter of the bills warranted such action.” The government's legislative intention, so to speak, is clear here.

With respect to Bill C-63, I would argue that two separate orders of reference would be created through the action of dividing off the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank provisions. Once the committee stage has concluded, there is the report stage. Standing Order 69.1 is silent on this part of the legislative process. Coupled with this is the growing practice of placing all report stage motions into a single group for debate. At a minimum, I would urge the Chair, when using its discretionary authority under Standing Order 76.1(5) on the selection and grouping of report stage motions, to honour the spirit of these bill divisions to allow for the motions concerning each of the divided portions of a bill to constitute a separate group for debate at report stage.

Additionally, if the Chair permits multiple committee references, some parameters need to be established on how to proceed at subsequent stages. The most logical approach would be to treat the final report related to the bill as the conclusion of the committee stage and the trigger for the waiting period for report stage consideration.

The concerns at third reading are the same as those at second reading, so I will not repeat them.

Given the increasingly activist Senate, we also need to anticipate and prepare for it to amend these omnibus bills. Those situations will, rightfully, need to be approached on a case-by-case basis. However, the Chair should prepare for applications under the existing motion-splitting practices concerning government motions on Senate amendments.

Additionally, there is the matter of timing. My reading of Standing Order 69.1 does not reveal a deadline for seeking a division on a bill, practically speaking, other than the end of third reading debate. Obviously, a ruling cannot have retrospective application if it is made after second reading. I would be grateful if the Chair could also clarify this point in the ruling.

In closing, the government's quest for modernizing the Standing Orders without collaborating with the opposition and without the benefit of expert input on the text of its amendments has really just created a maze for members to navigate, and a mess I believe for you, Mr. Speaker, to disentangle.

I have done this before. I have a Yiddish proverb, as I always do, which reads “It is better to be embarrassed than heartbroken.” Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I have every confidence that you will get to the bottom of this and find a way to embarrass as few members as there are here, instead of breaking some hearts.

Omnibus BillsPoints of OrderGovernment Orders

November 1st, 2017 / 5:20 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to follow up on the point of order raised by my colleague from Portage—Lisgar, the House leader of the official opposition, about omnibus bills.

In June, we as parliamentarians adopted a number of changes to the Standing Orders of the House of Commons. Among them, the following was added with regard to omnibus bills under clause 69.1, which stipulates:

In the case where a government bill seeks to repeal, amend or enact more than one act, and where there is not a common element connecting the various provisions or where unrelated matters are linked, the Speaker shall have the power to divide the questions, for the purposes of voting, on the motion for second reading and reference to a committee and the motion for third reading and passage of the bill. The Speaker shall have the power to combine clauses of the bill thematically and to put the aforementioned questions on each of these groups of clauses separately, provided that there will be a single debate at each stage.

O'Brien and Bosc, our bible, notes the following:

The use of omnibus bills is unique to Canada. The British Parliament does enact bills that are similar in type, but its legislative practice is different, specifically in that there is much tighter control over the length of debate.

We are elected to represent our constituents on various matters, and it is important that the rules and the application of those rules allow members to do that freely. House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Second Edition, is correct when it says that omnibus legislation is unique to Canada. It allows the government to group together a wide variety of very different issues into one package, requiring support or opposition on a single question.

Because the matters grouped together are so different, it is sometimes impossible to allow members of Parliament to represent their constituents in a way they want, without the provisions of Standing Order 69.1, the new regulation that governs our House. Bill C-56 was a clear example that was cited by the House leader from the official opposition earlier this week.

In the case of Bill C-56, it is true that the bill deals with two very distinct subjects. It proposes amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and the Abolition of Early Parole Act.

On one hand, the government wants to set a 21-day limit on administrative segregation and eventually reduce it to a maximum of 15 days. On the other hand, it wants to reintroduce the possibility of early release for non-violent offenders serving a first federal sentence.

These are two very different and unrelated subjects. The problems with administrative segregation that have led to tragedies like the death of Ashley Smith have nothing to do with the possibility of early release.

Why should we as parliamentarians have to choose which way to vote on both these propositions when the possibility of voting on each is available, and better reflects our role as elected representatives?

I was impressed with the argument from my fellow House leader relating to the historical usages of a similar practice in Westminster, and the references to the rulings during the great flag debate in the early 1960s.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a plea concerning your approach to this new rule, because this is the first time you have been approached on this new rule. Be generous in your application of Standing Order 69.1. Allow the maximum ability of each MP to represent their constituents separately on each legislative issue by dividing up the issues in omnibus bills as much as is necessary to allow an independent vote on each question. Give the benefit of the doubt to the need for parliamentarians to be able to represent their constituents.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, the Standing Orders evolved over time, and generally along the lines of the needs of parliamentarians. Parliamentarians, all of us, need greater ability to represent our constituents on individual issues.

We have given you the ability, Mr. Speaker, with Standing Order 69.1, to determine separate votes so our constituents can be better represented. We now hope you will give a positive response to these points of order, my own and that of the official opposition House leader, and that you will allow all of us as parliamentarians to better represent our constituents with the new Standing Order 69.1.

Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

October 31st, 2017 / 10:20 a.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will not repeat the arguments made by my colleague, the official opposition House leader. However, I do believe, as she does, that this is a very important point in the life of this House.

Standing Order 69.1 was established and put into place to give you, Mr. Speaker, the power to separate these unrelated elements within omnibus legislation and to provide to the House the ability to vote in favour of or in opposition to specific elements in legislation.

This is a real test. There is no doubt. It is an important point of order raised by the official opposition House leader. I would agree with her that the test of Bill C-56 is essentially met within Standing Order 69.1. These are unrelated clauses that should be treated as separate within the framework of the House. That can only enhance democracy.

We may come back later with further arguments to contribute to this, but we hope that you, Mr. Speaker, will be deliberating on this in a timely manner. It is extremely important for the life of this House, and we believe, for democratic values in Canada.

Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

October 31st, 2017 / 10:10 a.m.
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Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order to ask that you divide Bill C-56, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and the Abolition of Early Parole Act, pursuant to Standing Order 69.1.

Standing Order 69.1 states:

In the case where a government bill seeks to repeal, amend or enact more than one act, and where there is not a common element connecting the various provisions or where unrelated matters are linked, the Speaker shall have the power to divide the questions, for the purposes of voting, on the motion for second reading and reference to a committee and the motion for third reading and passage of the bill. The Speaker shall have the power to combine clauses of the bill thematically and to put the aforementioned questions on each of these groups of clauses separately, provided that there will be a single debate at each stage.

There are two parts of Bill C-56 that I believe should be separated through the application of Standing Order 69.1. One of those parts would be the section that amends the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. These proposals are meant to address the findings of the inquiry into the death of Ashley Smith, which resulted in a set of recommendations, including the restricted use of administrative segregation. The other part aims to amend the Abolition of Early Parole Act to reinstate the accelerated parole review at one-sixth of the sentence for non-violent offences.

Further, the segregation proposals deal with the introduction of firm deadlines regarding days spent in solitary confinement, as well as the inclusion of oversight or review measures, i.e., independent external reviewers, whereas the one-sixth issue is quite separate and touches on the ability for non-violent criminals to be released on parole and into community much sooner than previously allowed.

Both are related in that they deal with prisons, but they tackle separate issues. In fact, it is my understanding that the Correctional Service Canada would deal with the segregation issue, whereas the Parole Board of Canada would deal with the other.

As you know Mr. Speaker, there is no jurisprudence for the House on this new practice of dividing bills, since the standing order granting you this authority was only adopted in June. Since we do not have any precedents for dividing bills in the manner proposed through Standing Order 69.1, the Speaker has always had the authority to divide motions. Perhaps we can look at these precedents for some guidance on this.

On page 562 and 563 of O'Brien and Bosc, it states:

When any Member objects to a motion containing two or more distinct propositions, he or she may request that the motion be divided and that each proposition be debated and voted on separately.

On June 15, 1964, Mr. Speaker Macnaughton ruled on a request to divide a government motion regarding a new Canadian flag. The Speaker made the following statement:

I must come to the conclusion that the motion before the house contains two propositions, and since strong objections have been made to the effect that these two propositions should not be considered together, it is my duty to divide them....

The Speaker, in this particular ruling, gave a summary of proceedings in the British House with regard to the division of complicated questions. He gave, for example, a ruling from April 19, 1888, where the British Speaker said:

It may be for the convenience of the house that the hon. gentleman's two propositions should be put together, but if any hon. gentleman objects to their being taken together, they will be put separately.

Another illustration came in a ruling from July 17, 1905. The Speaker said:

A member raised a point of order asking the Speaker to rule as to whether when a resolution contains various different propositions it should not be divided and each put separately. It will be seen that the Speaker decided that, in his opinion, it should be divided.

A ruling from October 8, 1912, was also cited:

If the noble lord finds himself in any doubt as to how to vote upon it I shall be very glad to put it as two questions.

That same year, on November 13, the Speaker said:

...the rule, of course, is that if any hon. member feels embarrassed in voting upon a resolution, that the Chair shall divide the resolution....

While the Speaker in 1964 went on to reference more British examples, such as a case from July 1920 and December 10, 1947, he relied on the ruling of November 13, 1912, when he said:

Taking into consideration the references and quotations just cited, and more especially the view expressed by the Speaker of the British house on November 13, 1912, where he said, “the rule, of course, is if any honourable member feels embarrassed on voting on a resolution that the Chair shall revise the resolution in order that the member may, if he wishes to vote “Aye” on the one part and “No” on the other not be embarrassed by having to vote “Aye” or “No” on the whole of it,”

Accordingly, Speaker Macnaughton concluded:

...the motion before the house contains two propositions, and since strong objections have been made to the effect that these two propositions should not be considered together, it is my duty to divide them....

The common guidance here would appear to be strong objections, which I am expressing to you in regard to Bill C-56 and the discomfort members would have voting against a motion containing two parts they support, and vice versa.

On April 8, 1991, members argued that a motion to amend the Standing Orders contained more than one proposal, and the option of passing only one vote on the various proposals in the motion posed a problem for some members. Some members favoured certain proposals and were against others.

On April 10, 1991, Speaker Fraser made a ruling more in line with the new standing order regarding bills when ruling on a request to divide a government motion to amend the Standing Orders of the House.

Citing Speaker Fraser, Speaker Milliken said:

Rather than intervening to divide the motion, he ruled that a single debate would be held on the motion, and its components would be separated into three questions for voting purposes.

He continued:

After having carefully examined the precedents and after having reviewed the arguments on both sides of the question, I am inclined to agree that Government Business Item No. 2 does, indeed, present an instance where the Chair is justified in taking some action.

On October 4, 2002, the hon. member for Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar raised the matter that a motion for reinstatement of House business contained four separate and distinct parts. She objected to the fact of having only one debate and one vote, when the House was being asked to decide on four subjects, and she asked the Speaker to divide the motion, which he did.

I would argue that the reasons to support the division of the second reading motion of Bill C-56 are the same as those cited from the British House and from the Canadian House in 1964, 1991, and 2002. Members cannot speak for their constituents responsibly by casting one vote that covers various issues. Standing Order 69.1 was meant to relieve members of that impediment.

I suspect that the majority of the House supports the sections of the bill that address the findings of the inquiry into the death of Ashley Smith. I know that a great number of the members disagree with the section in Bill C-56 that reinstates accelerated parole review at one-sixth of the sentence for non-violent offences. Many members, and the constituents who elected them, believe that this would be good news for those convicted of white-collar fraudulent crimes and drug dealers who might get out of prison early.

I believe that Bill C-56 is a good test for Standing Order 69.1, since the division of this bill, along the lines I have described, would address the omnibus nature of Bill C-56 and the problem members have with casting one vote on distinct, separate, and conflicting areas of public policy.

The author of this new standing order, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, should agree with me, since during debate on the motion proposing this change, on June 19, 2017, she said:

We want to ensure that MPs are not faced with the dilemma of how to vote on a bill that is most supportable but contains a totally unrelated clause, a poison pill, that they find objectionable. We want flexibility for MPs in these instances. Under the proposed change, the Speaker would have the authority to divide bills for the purpose of voting for second reading, third reading, and passage of a bill. The Speaker would also be authorized to group a bill thematically. There would be a single debate at each stage, and members would then be able to vote on parts of a bill separately.

The minister's intentions for the use of Standing Order 69.1 are in line with the predicament my colleagues and I are in, with casting only one vote on Bill C-56.

Further, the minister's concerns would appear to echo the concerns contained in the ruling I presented with respect to the Speaker's authority to divide motions, in particular the November 13, 1912, ruling stating that if a member wishes to vote for one part and against another part of a motion, the member should not be embarrassed by having to vote for or against the whole of it.

This new Standing Order was put forward to address the problem of omnibus bills. The fact that it exempts budget implementation bills makes it somewhat of a farce. However, in the case of Bill C-56, there may be some merit in its application.

I look forward to your ruling, Mr. Speaker.

Bill C-56 Charter StatementRoutine Proceedings

June 21st, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
See context

Vancouver Granville B.C.

Liberal

Jody Wilson-Raybould LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I would like to table, in both official languages, the charter statement with respect to Bill C-56, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and the Abolition of Early Parole Act.

Corrections and Conditional Release ActRoutine Proceedings

June 19th, 2017 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Jim Carr Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-56, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and the Abolition of Early Parole Act.

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