An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

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

Sponsor

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

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

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to, among other things,

(a) modernize and clarify interim release provisions to simplify the forms of release that may be imposed on an accused, incorporate a principle of restraint and require that particular attention be given to the circumstances of Aboriginal accused and accused from vulnerable populations when making interim release decisions, and provide more onerous interim release requirements for offences involving violence against an intimate partner;

(b) provide for a judicial referral hearing to deal with administration of justice offences involving a failure to comply with conditions of release or failure to appear as required;

(c) abolish peremptory challenges of jurors, modify the process of challenging a juror for cause so that a judge makes the determination of whether a ground of challenge is true, and allow a judge to direct that a juror stand by for reasons of maintaining public confidence in the administration of justice;

(d) increase the maximum term of imprisonment for repeat offences involving intimate partner violence and provide that abuse of an intimate partner is an aggravating factor on sentencing;

(e) restrict the availability of a preliminary inquiry to offences punishable by imprisonment for a term of 14 years or more and strengthen the justice’s powers to limit the issues explored and witnesses to be heard at the inquiry;

(f) hybridize most indictable offences punishable by a maximum penalty of 10 years or less, increase the default maximum penalty to two years less a day of imprisonment for summary conviction offences and extend the limitation period for summary conviction offences to 12 months;

(g) remove the requirement for judicial endorsement for the execution of certain out-of-province warrants and authorizations, expand judicial case management powers, allow receiving routine police evidence in writing, consolidate provisions relating to the powers of the Attorney General and allow increased use of technology to facilitate remote attendance by any person in a proceeding;

(h) re-enact the victim surcharge regime and provide the court with the discretion to waive a victim surcharge if the court is satisfied that the victim surcharge would cause the offender undue hardship or would be disproportionate to the gravity of the offence or the degree of responsibility of the offender; and

(i) remove passages and repeal provisions that have been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada, repeal section 159 of the Act and provide that no person shall be convicted of any historical offence of a sexual nature unless the act that constitutes the offence would constitute an offence under the Criminal Code if it were committed on the day on which the charge was laid.

The enactment also amends the Youth Criminal Justice Act in order to reduce delays within the youth criminal justice system and enhance the effectiveness of that system with respect to administration of justice offences. For those purposes, the enactment amends that Act to, among other things,

(a) set out principles intended to encourage the use of extrajudicial measures and judicial reviews as alternatives to the laying of charges for administration of justice offences;

(b) set out requirements for imposing conditions on a young person’s release order or as part of a sentence;

(c) limit the circumstances in which a custodial sentence may be imposed for an administration of justice offence;

(d) remove the requirement for the Attorney General to determine whether to seek an adult sentence in certain circumstances; and

(e) remove the power of a youth justice court to make an order to lift the ban on publication in the case of a young person who receives a youth sentence for a violent offence, as well as the requirement to determine whether to make such an order.

Finally, the enactment amends among other Acts An Act to amend the Criminal Code (exploitation and trafficking in persons) so that certain sections of that Act can come into force on different days and also makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

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

June 19, 2019 Passed Motion respecting Senate amendments to Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
June 19, 2019 Passed Motion for closure
Dec. 3, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
Nov. 20, 2018 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
Nov. 20, 2018 Failed Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (report stage amendment)
Nov. 20, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
June 11, 2018 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
June 11, 2018 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (reasoned amendment)
June 11, 2018 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (subamendment)
May 29, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

Income Tax ActPrivate Members' Business

June 4th, 2021 / 2 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Conservative Red Deer—Lacombe, AB

Madam Speaker, I disagree very much with the previous three speakers, so much so that I am not even sure I am going to refer to the notes that I have in front of me, but let me see if I can make some sense out of the nonsense that I have heard and the falseness of the arguments that have been presented about this very important Private Members' Bill.

In recent years, we have seen crime rates rise across Canada and that crime is getting more severe. This is especially true in rural Canada. In 2017, the crime rate was 23% higher than in urban centres. In some parts of the country, particularly in the Prairies, it is staggeringly higher: between 36% and 42% higher. While provincial governments have responded with concrete measures to tackle this serious issue, the Liberal government has not only refused to take any meaningful action, but has actually made the situation worse.

I want to thank my colleague for Prince Albert for introducing this Private Members' Bill, Bill C-234. This bill seeks to create a non-refundable tax credit for home security measures. It is unfortunate that this bill is necessary, but the Liberal government refuses to undertake the necessary reforms to our justice system, something that no one from the Liberal Party, the Bloc or the New Democratic Party wants to talk about. This is necessary to protect rural Canadians. The issue is the justice system.

We need to do what we can to support Canadians in their efforts to acquire and put in place the devices and mechanisms so that they can feel safe, or at least have some semblance of feeling safe, in their homes.

During a recent study, the Standing Committee on the Status of Women heard testimony from two women who had been repeat victims of rural crime. These women spoke about the toll it takes on a person's mental health when they are constantly worried about being victimized over and over again. They spoke about how repeat offenders from outside their communities target them because they know that help from law enforcement is a long way away, and that if the police come to the scene the criminals are already usually long gone.

They told us how the vast majority of people in their communities have been victims of crime, often more than once, and that many people do not even bother reporting crime anymore: They do not see the point because the justice system continues to let them down. They also spoke about how these criminals are more often armed with firearms and are not afraid to use them, yet shamefully the Liberal government is cracking down on farmers and hunters and law-abiding firearms owners while softening punishments for criminals who use their firearms illegally.

The idea that Canadians are giving up on the idea of justice should be of deep concern to all members of Parliament. When people see that the system does not work for them, they lose confidence in it. When that system is the police and the courts, the consequences of inaction are dire. It is already starting to happen: An Angus Reid poll from January 2020 found that confidence in the RCMP, local law enforcement and the criminal courts has been declining steadily since 2016. The same poll noted that in 2020, 48% of Canadians said they noticed an increase in crime, while only 5% of Canadians thought there had been a decrease.

People may be wondering how we got here. I grew up on a farm. When I was a young man, we were not particularly worried about crime at all. We could leave our doors unlocked when we worked in the fields or went into town. We could leave keys in the ignition of our pickup trucks with the windows rolled down when we parked in town to go into a store for a few minutes. We did not wake up at night scared that someone was armed and prowling around our yards looking to help themselves to our property. The only problem we really ever had was that once in a while, somebody would come into the yard, pull up to the gas tank and fill up their car.

However, the world is a different place now. For the past five years or so it has been getting worse. When it comes to rural Canada out west, the Liberal government does not get it or simply does not care, as we have seen from the member for Kingston and the Islands. He never mentioned crime, which is what this bill is all about. He never mentioned the justice system, which is what this bill is all about. He never mentioned that businesses can write off all of the things that this bill proposes to do, but private citizens cannot. He never mentioned those things at all.

Very often it seems that rural Canadians are the last of the Liberals' worries. Policies that are touted as landmark achievements of the government are typically at the expense of rural Canadians: the carbon tax, the tanker ban, the no-more-pipelines bill and the gun grab, just to name a few.

Another extremely damaging policy that has contributed to the increase in rural crime is Bill C-75 from the last Parliament. Bill C-75 took a number of very serious offences and made them hybrid offences so that they could be dealt with through a fine or a minimal amount of jail time. It also made the requirement that bail be given at the earliest opportunity with the least onerous conditions.

My colleague's legislation was brought forward, in part at least, in response to the Jordan decision by the Supreme Court of Canada. This decision clarified that the timeline for a trial to begin is in order for the Crown to uphold the constitutionally protected right to trial in a reasonable amount of time.

One would think that if the justice system was backed up with numerous serious cases, to the point where trials were being thrown out, the logical decision would be to increase the capability and capacity of the justice system to appropriately deal with it.

This would have allowed accused individuals to have their right to a fair trial upheld in a timely fashion and kept public safety and the administration of justice as a key objective for the security of Canadians.

Instead, the Liberals took the path of least resistance and decided to clear up backlogs of serious offences by giving prosecutors the ability to offer light sentences for serious offences. They also ensured that more people got out on bail just for good measure. The Liberal government, through its changes, took the already quickly revolving door of the justice system and made it spin even faster.

For rural communities, this meant that offenders who regularly target residents would be back on the street shortly after being arrested. In rural Canada, where a small RCMP detachment can be responsible for a vast geographic area, the government has created an almost impossible task. Instead of getting tough on crime, which I vividly recall our current Attorney General of Canada referring to as “stupid on crime”, the government decided to put criminals' needs ahead of victims and their families in rural communities.

It is important to note that those tough-on-crime policies that the Minister of Justice smirked at were hugely successful at reducing the crime rate and the crime severity index and in instilling confidence in our justice system. Instead of doubling down on our Conservative formula and putting public safety at the heart of the justice system, the Liberal government has now also introduced Bill C-22. This bill slashes punishments for a number of serious firearms-related offences and ensures that all of the offences that the Liberal government hybridized in Bill C-75 are now eligible for conditional sentencing, which basically means jail time in one's house.

My constituents are absolutely shocked at the Liberal government's decisions to put the wants and desires of criminals above the needs and safety of law-abiding Canadians. Instead of providing them with assurances that the government understands the issue and that they are working to restore confidence in our justice systems, the Liberals have done the complete opposite.

That brings us back to Bill C-234. This bill is starting down the path of trying to correct what the Liberals have broken since forming government in 2015. Since that time, we have seen crime increase in frequency and severity, yet the Liberals have taken no meaningful steps to curtail it, only to exacerbate it. That is why my Conservative colleagues and I have formed a Conservative rural crime caucus to come up with solutions to this epidemic that the Minister of Justice and Attorney General cannot seem to be bothered with.

The legislation that we are discussing today is a great first step in addressing the rural crime epidemic. It will help Canadians get the tools that they need to protect themselves and their homes from criminals by providing a non-refundable tax credit. Tools like security gates and other access control devices to keep the yard safe could help deter criminals by preventing access and making it harder for criminals to target a rural property. Cameras and alarms could help provide valuable information that law enforcement could use to hopefully identify and catch these criminals, even if they are not able to respond while the crime is in progress because they are so far away.

While this bill is an important step, Conservatives understand that it cannot be our only step. Deterring criminals to find a less prepared victim is not a permanent solution. To that end, I was pleased to introduce my private member's bill, Bill C-289, back in April. It seeks to create an aggravating factor for targeting people or property that is experiencing increased vulnerability due to its remoteness from emergency police or medical services.

My bill would also seek to make existing aggravating factors for home invasion more inclusive of rural properties and face the realities of rural crime. Last, Bill C-289 would ensure that a judge would give careful consideration as to why an offender did not get bail when the judge is considering extra credit for time that was served before the trial.

Rural crime is a complex issue. Given the unique challenges posed by geography and more humble resources in many of the communities, it requires a thorough, multi-faceted approach, and the federal government needs to be an engaged partner. In fact, over a year ago, there was agreement for the provincial and federal government to create a pan-Canadian working group on rural crime. We have heard nothing about this since then from the Liberal government. While the governments across the west in the provinces have been quick to back up these words with action, we have seen no movement from the Liberals at all. The provinces have done an admirable job, but we cannot escape the reality that this is an issue that requires federal leadership.

This should not be a difficult decision for the government, so it raises the question of why the government is so opposed to doing the right thing. Is it because the government really has no understanding of the challenges facing rural Canadians? Is it because rural crime is disproportionately an issue based in the west and the electoral math does not portray it as a worthwhile initiative when there are plenty of policies that the government still wants to enact? Is it because the Minister of Justice is so blinded by ideology and so committed to his hug-a-thug plan that he is willing to let rural Canadians bear the cost of his inaction?

Canadians have a right to life, liberty and security of the person. For rural Canadians in many parts of our country, the Liberal government is not creating the conditions for those rights to be realized.

June 3rd, 2021 / 11:05 a.m.
See context

Carole Morency Director General and Senior General Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Policy Sector, Department of Justice

Thank you.

We are pleased to be here today to discuss the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights and related efforts by the Department of Justice.

Ensuring access to justice for victims of crime and giving them a more effective voice in the criminal justice system has been a long‑standing commitment of the federal government.

Federal policy and legislative and programmatic measures in support of this commitment have been coordinated through the federal victims strategy. Established in 2000, this horizontal strategy is led by Justice Canada and includes Public Safety Canada, Correctional Service Canada, the Parole Board of Canada and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada.

The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights is an important cornerstone for continuing federal efforts to support victims of crime. Enacted in 2015, the CVBR gives victims of crime four statutory rights: the rights to information, to protection, to participation and to seek restitution. These rights apply throughout the criminal justice process. The CVBR also requires, to the extent possible, that all federal statutes be interpreted in a manner consistent with victims' rights under the CVBR. It provides a mechanism for victims to file a complaint when these rights have been breached by a federal department or agency.

As the committee knows, responsibility for our criminal justice system is shared between the federal, provincial and territorial governments. The federal government is responsible for criminal law and procedure, much of which is set out in the Criminal Code, as well as the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. Provincial and territorial governments are responsible for the administration of justice, which includes enforcing and prosecuting Criminal Code offences, delivery of victim services and enacting their own victim legislation.

Since 2015, significant individual and collaborative measures have been taken by all governments to advance and strengthen implementation of victims' rights. For example, at the federal level, early actions to support the right to information focused on creating a series of fact sheets about victims' rights and related Criminal Code provisions. These have recently been made available in 11 indigenous languages.

Federal funding was also made available to provincial and territorial victim services to create or update their public legal education and information materials for victims, victims' advocates and criminal justice professionals, in addition to training on the CVBR.

The right to information has also been supported through the design and delivery of new models of victim-centred services. The creation of family information liaison units across Canada in 2016 has ensured that family members of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls have all the available information they are seeking about their loved ones as well as access to community-based supports. Justice Canada has also supported the right to participation through funding to the provinces and territories for the provision of testimonial aids to facilitate victim testimony.

Victims' rights to information, protection and participation have also been supported by federal funding for independent legal advice and representation programs for victims and survivors of sexual assault. These are currently being piloted in a number of jurisdictions in Canada. Justice Canada has also worked closely with provincial and territorial victim services to fund their design and delivery of jurisdiction-specific restitution programs.

Law reform continues to be an important tool to affect change and to implement victims' rights. In addition to the criminal law reforms that accompanied the CVBR, some recent legislative reforms support victims' participation and protection rights. For example, the recently enacted Bill C-3 requires candidates seeking appointment to a provincial superior court to participate in continuing education in sexual assault law and social context. It also requires judges to provide reasons for their decisions in sexual assault cases.

The former Bill C-75 on criminal justice system delays enhanced victim safety, particularly for victims of intimate partner violence, including at bail and sentencing. It also re-enacted a new victim surcharge regime—an important source of revenue for provinces and territories—in response to the Supreme Court's decision in R. v. Boudreault.

Following enactment of the CVBR, federal departments and agencies whose mandates involve working with victims of crime have implemented formal complaints mechanisms for victims. Justice Canada prepares an annual report on complaints and publishes it online. Provinces and territories also have their own complaint mechanisms.

Those are the items I'd like to highlight for Justice Canada.

Thank you.

Sex-Selective Abortion ActPrivate Members' Business

May 28th, 2021 / 2:15 p.m.
See context

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Liberal

Anita Vandenbeld LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Madam Speaker, I am here today to speak to private member's bill, Bill C-233, an act to amend the Criminal Code, sex-selective abortion, at second reading.

I really wish I did not have to do this. I am, quite frankly, disappointed that I have to spend time in the year 2021 on the abortion debate in Canada, when a woman's right to choose has been law for over 30 years. It really is unfortunate that members of Parliament are still seeking to restrict that right.

The sponsor claims that this bill is to address sex-based discrimination. To achieve that goal, this bill would create a new Criminal Code offence prohibiting doctors from performing an abortion when they know it is being sought solely on the grounds of the genetic sex of the fetus.

While I note that the offence is ostensibly aimed at doctors, I must point out that it would also criminalize women as parties to the offence. Make no mistake, Bill C-233 will limit a woman's right to choose by doing this. Criminalizing a woman for seeking an abortion is a violation of the fundamental rights of women in Canada, and it is just plain wrong.

I would like to speak to what we know about the impact of using criminal law to regulate abortion. We need not look further than Canada's own legal history of abortion regulation and its impact on Canadian women. That history reflects what the international evidence tells us. Criminal restrictions on abortion result in women having less access to them, and having less access negatively impacts women's equality rights.

Let us take a look at how we got to where we are today. Currently, no criminal offences apply to abortion, and the provinces and territories are responsible for providing safe abortion services to Canadian women. However, we must not forget that, until 1969, abortion was absolutely prohibited in Canada. That meant that very few, if any, safe options were available to women. Women were forced to either bring an unwanted pregnancy to term or access unsafe and unregulated methods such as back alley abortions, which often led to infection and death.

Women who sought abortions also risked criminal sanctions, and doctors who provided safe abortions risked punishment. Many of us will remember Dr. Morgentaler. He was incarcerated for saving women's lives. He risked his own safety to champion women's rights and for that he was awarded the Order of Canada in 2008.

I cannot emphasize enough how much we do not want to return to that era. I am proud to live in a country where women have safe access to abortion and do not need to worry about criminal reprisals. Again, I am very disappointed to be here today having to fight against an attempt to limit these hard-earned and important rights.

The evidence before the court in the Morgentaler case highlighted the medical risks and psychological trauma restricting access to abortion caused women seeking abortion services in Canada, and the importance of affording women autonomy to make decisions about their own bodies. The provisions were found to violate women's security of the person rights.

This is because, and I quote Justice Bertha Wilson, the first woman justice of the Supreme Court, who said that those provisions asserted that, “the woman's capacity to reproduce is to be subject, not to her own control, but to that of the state.”

The court found the violation of women's rights by limiting access to abortion to be completely unacceptable, and so do I. The court has been very clear on this front, and I think that a court could also find this legislation unconstitutional for the same reasons, should it pass.

The 1969 provisions remained in the Criminal Code, but were unenforceable until they were repealed in 2019 by our government in the former Bill C-75. Other related abortion offences were repealed by our government in 2018 in former Bill C-51. Even though they were inoperable, I am proud that our government took the important step to remove these discriminatory provisions.

It took more than 100 years to remove abortion-related criminal offences from our Criminal Code, which is, frankly, a shameful mark. However, again, I am quite proud to be part of the government that finally removed them from the books, and I have no intention of supporting any attempt to add them back.

Consistent with the Canadian experience, international research has shown that using the criminal law to regulate any aspect of abortion results in barriers to accessing abortion services, which contributes to gender inequality. For example, international research indicates that laws restricting the use of technology for sex selection purposes, as well as sex-selective abortions, are likely to have harmful impacts on women. These impacts include women seeking unsafe procedures that fall outside regulations, protocols and monitoring.

I fail to see how criminalizing women who choose sex-selection abortion, perhaps because of familial pressure to do so, protects them, or other women for that matter, from discrimination. Rather, a criminal law response is more likely to detract from women's equality rights by creating barriers to accessing abortion.

The United Nations recommends combatting this form of discrimination by addressing the root causes of gender inequality. This includes focusing on advancing access to education, health services and economic resources for women and girls. I am pleased to note that our government has made significant investments to advance gender equality, guided by women and the framework for assessing gender equality results, introduced in budget 2018.

Criminalizing women seeking abortion is not the solution to this problem and would be a massive step backwards for this country. I cannot emphasize enough how disappointed I am to see that there is yet another attempt in this bill to limit a woman's right to choose.

In Canada, I am proud to say that abortion is treated like the medical service that it is and falls within the responsibility of the provincial and territorial health sector. All medical procedures are subject to medical professional standards.

Ultimately, what could happen if we were to enact an offence such as this? Perhaps doctors would refuse to provide abortion services out of fear of criminalization, because they believe their patient may be choosing abortion for the wrong reasons. Perhaps a woman who needs access to an abortion would be afraid to seek it out in case she is reported and charged for having done so. Perhaps women from certain communities would be denied access to abortion based on discriminatory views about their reason for seeking it. In short, I fear that this bill could undo decades of arduous work to ensure that women never face these barriers again.

I was really disappointed to see the Leader of the Opposition indicate that his caucus will be allowed a free vote on such a fundamental issue as protecting women's right to choose.

I hope that members of the Conservative Party who are currently heckling me will recognize, as all other members of this House do, how important it is to protect equality rights for women in Canada and join me and the government in voting against this proposed legislation.

Public SafetyOral Questions

May 3rd, 2021 / 3 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, Durham region was shaken by two shootings in Ajax last week, which appear to be gang related. According to Statistics Canada, the number of gang-related murders since the Liberals first took office has been higher ever single year than any year under the previous Conservative government. The Liberal government's soft-on-crime approach through bills like Bill C-22 and Bill C-75 has made Canada a safe haven for gang activity.

When will caring about gang violence, the true source of gun crime in Canada, become a priority for the Liberal government?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

April 13th, 2021 / noon
See context

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Conservative Red Deer—Lacombe, AB

Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River.

It is a privilege to rise and represent the constituents of Red Deer—Lacombe in this debate, who would be mortified, I believe, to know what the legislation is actually proposing to do to our criminal justice system, notwithstanding the words coming from government MPs.

Let me start with a little bit of context. I am the chair of the Conservative rural crime caucus and had the pleasure of helping to create a document in 2018 that we published as MPs from rural Alberta. Virtually every one of my colleagues from rural Alberta participated in this. We consulted and talked to a wide variety of people in our province. We talked to victims. We talked to rural crime watch people. We talked to anti-crime organizations. We talked to victims-of-crime services and to law enforcement experts, and we produced a comprehensive, thorough and multifaceted report, which we then tabled at the public safety committee in the last Parliament. My colleague from Lakeland had a motion in that Parliament talking about rural crime.

I want to remind all colleagues in the House that crime in rural areas, and specifically here in western Canada, is significantly on the rise. It has been shown statistically. One does not have to go very far to look. A document from the Angus Reid Institute published January 10, 2020, shows that crime rates in Canada dropped precipitously from 1991 to 2014, falling more than 50% during that period. However, crime rates have ticked upward over each of the past four years for which data is available, and that trend is continuing. It shows that confidence is waning significantly in our law enforcement agencies, courts and provincial jurisdictions. It notes that it is more significantly happening in western Canada, and in the Prairie provinces in particular.

Colleagues can imagine that the proposed changes to this legislation would be somewhat horrific to my constituents who ask me about it. If anybody wants to read the report, “Towards a Safer Alberta: Addressing Rural Crime”, it addresses a lot of crime in general by addressing rural crime. I would encourage them to do so. It can be found on my website, www.blainecalkinsmp.ca. I would encourage people to have a look at it and see what good work MPs in western Canada have done to bring forward the concerns of our constituents.

I want to talk a little bit about the overall Government of Canada's approach since it became the government in the fall of 2015. I am not going to get into too much discussion about specific firearms legislation in Bill C-71 or Bill C-21, but I will talk about Bill C-75 and now Bill C-22, and the soft-on-crime approach that the government seems to have. The rationale that it is presenting seems to basically undermine the needs of victims in this country, especially when some of these crimes are certainly crimes against people. They are not just property crimes.

What are some of the things that the government has done? In Bill C-75, which could be called the prequel to Bill C-22, the government basically hybridized well over 100 offences in the Criminal Code. To those who wonder what that means, there are basically two ways in which a Crown prosecutor can proceed with charges before a justice. One of them is through an indictable offence. Until this bill came along, it usually carried with it a set of penalties for which there was a requirement to spend some time in jail or in custody. Then there is something called a summary conviction offence, which is the equivalent, I guess, of a U.S. misdemeanour. It usually carries with it a very small sentence or time served in jail, in lieu of being unable to pay a fine of some kind.

Here are some of the things for which the current government, in the previous Parliament, changed the sentences from mandatory indictable offences to hybrids. This allows the Crown to plea bargain away serious offences such as impaired driving, punishment for theft, both under $5,000 and over $5,000, possession of instruments for breaking and entering, selling automobile master keys and other items, enabling theft, possession of property, stolen property obtained by crime and, of course, importing or exporting property.

That just names a few offences. As I said, there were over 110 offences that the government essentially reduced the penalties for. In fact, it would now be possible for someone to get a summary conviction offence for abduction of a person under the age of 16 or abduction of a person under the age of 14. Those were also included in Bill C-75. It would now be possible to pay a fine less than someone would pay for failing to stop at a stop sign. That is the legacy of Bill C-75 in the first Parliament.

Now let us fast forward to Bill C-22 and take a look at what Liberals are removing mandatory minimum penalties or just basic minimum penalties for in the Criminal Code. First, there is using a firearm or an imitation firearm in the commission of an offence. Interestingly the government is removing Airsoft and paintball guns from possession completely for law-abiding citizens, but if a criminal is using a firearm or an imitation firearm in the commission of an offence, they will now get the pleasure of going home and sitting there, thinking about what they have done. Possession of a firearm, knowing that its possession is unauthorized, is the whole point. Rather than reducing penalties for people who knowingly use or are in possession of unauthorized firearms, the government is instead taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens who are co-operating with the government. It does not make any sense.

More items include possession of a weapon obtained by the commission of an offence. One of the biggest problems we have with rural crime is people going onto properties to steal vehicles, tools and other items that are easily saleable and marketable on the black market. People also, from time to time, go to these properties purposely looking for firearms to steal. Why on earth would the government want to make it less punishable for these types of thieves who are purposefully targeting establishments, casing rural farms and casing our communities?

Why would we reduce the penalties for individuals who are purposefully trying to steal firearms? These firearms end up on the streets of our cities and our communities and end up being used in the commission of offences. This makes no sense, but the government seems to think that this is a good idea.

Here is something we can categorize in the realm of the bizarre. Why on earth would the government remove any semblance of a minimum penalty for someone who was trafficking weapons and firearms? If we listen to police chiefs or victims' services people anywhere in major urban centres, crime is proliferating especially with the use of handguns and firearms in those communities. We know that most of those firearms are obtained illegally through theft or are smuggled across our border. I would think that the government would say it was going to crack down on smugglers, but it would seem that the government is encouraging smuggling while discouraging lawful ownership. Importing or exporting a weapon knowing it is unauthorized is called smuggling. The bill would reduce minimum penalties for that.

The next item is discharging a firearm with intent. Why would we reduce a penalty for somebody purposely discharging a firearm with intent? This makes absolutely no sense. The Liberal MPs are simply misleading the House and Canadians with what their true intent is with Bill C-22, and it is incumbent upon all of us with a conscience in the House of Commons, and with an eye to doing what is right for the law-abiding citizens that we represent, to defeat this irremediable piece of legislation.

April 12th, 2021 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

Commr Brenda Lucki

I don't have the specific numbers since the onset of Bill C-75. I would have to get you [Technical difficulty—Editor] numbers with regard to the RCMP jurisdiction, and not the entirety of Canada, which would be a disservice because many of the areas that we police are not the centre of where this crime occurs. It tends to gravitate towards the bigger urban centres.

April 12th, 2021 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Maybe you can't answer the question, but I think it's quite obvious to anybody watching this right now that, when we had a chance to get tougher on these types of crimes, we actually made the penalties less severe.

You mentioned some statistics in response to my Bloc colleague about how many investigations you've done since 2019, when the Liberals changed this. You have been quite busy, and I understand the numbers. There were thousands of investigations, but how many charges have you actually laid since 2019, since Bill C-75 came into effect?

April 12th, 2021 / 12:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Commissioner, I want to explore a point that was mentioned by the ministers and you in regard to the international front.

I was honoured to be part of a round table in Oshawa, and I want to thank the Durham Regional Police human trafficking unit for that. They had representatives from the FBI and Texas. What I found out is if you commit these offences and human trafficking offences in the United States, there's a mandatory minimum of 10 years per person trafficked.

When the Liberals had a chance to do something about this in 2019, they passed Bill C-75, which turned human trafficking into a hybrid offence where somebody could serve fewer than two years in prison, or just pay a fine of $5,000.

What I wanted to ask you is this. As a police officer, if you wanted to have a disincentive to doing this type of business in Canada, what do you think is the greater disincentive? If I'm this business and want to use these exploitive images on the Internet or to engage in human trafficking via the Internet, and I could do the business in Canada versus the United States, which is the greater disincentive to doing the business in Canada versus the United States, the 10-year mandatory minimums or the potential $5,000 fine? I ask because my sources say that these human slave traders can make $250,000 to $300,000 per person trafficked. Where is the better place to do business?

April 12th, 2021 / noon
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Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Thank you very much.

Minister Blair, the cabinet colleague that is testifying with you today sponsored Bill C-75 in 2019, which made human trafficking a hybrid offence, thus making modern day slave traders able to be convicted and serve less than two years' prison time, or even just pay a fine of no more than $5,000.

Mr. Angus was talking about how robust the Canadian system is. Your government actually changed it into a hybrid offence, under which somebody could get off with the same penalty as basically that of causing a public disturbance.

Are you aware of those changes in Bill C-75?

March 8th, 2021 / 11:45 a.m.
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Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. Maybe I can help my Liberal friends.

There was a huge rejig in, I think it was, Bill C-75, where the Liberals passed a reform of the criminal justice system. One of the things in that bill was a change in regard to human trafficking, where in some instances instead of being a criminal offence, human trafficking was going to be moved into a summary conviction. For anybody who is not a legal person, that means the penalty could be two years minus a day and a $5,000 fine. As we heard quite regularly throughout the study we're talking about, human traffickers are extremely active in recruitment and abuse in regard to these images on the Internet.

I think it would be great to have Mr. Lametti—who made that change—in front of the committee to explain the [Technical difficulty—Editor]. Maybe instead of making this situation, let's just say, less common, perhaps we're seeing a greater incentive for these traffickers to be found guilty in Canada, where there is much less risk, than in the United States. A $5,000 fine could be seen as.... If one person is trafficked, we've heard numbers of $250,000 or $300,000 per year being made off one trafficked person. This would be just the cost of doing business.

Maybe this would be something that Mr. Lametti could explain to committee and maybe take a second look at.

Status of WomenCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

February 16th, 2021 / 10:40 a.m.
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Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Mr. Speaker, I know well the bill that the member speaks of, as it was one I advocated for immensely. The Liberals took the consecutive sentencing out of it, made it concurrent sentencing and waited three and a half years to bring it in.

The concern my colleague raises is a valid one. That bill should have been brought into force as soon as possible. The bill was passed in this place in 2014. It was supposed to be declared in force in early 2015, but it only happened until Bill C-75, which was at the end of the last Parliament.

February 2nd, 2021 / 11:50 a.m.
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Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

I presume your answer will be the same to my next question, but I will ask it nonetheless. Another aspect of Bill C-75 is that it provides for an increase in maximum penalties for intimate partner violence. Are you able to speak to any statistics or data there, or is your answer the same as your previous answer?

February 2nd, 2021 / 11:50 a.m.
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Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Thank you very much, Madam Chair. I want to thank the officials for being here as we commence this most timely study

I will direct my first question to Ms. Levman, picking up from where Ms. Findlay left off before Ms. Levman had an opportunity to come online. Ms. Findlay asked a question about Bill C-75, and in particular the reverse onus provisions for bail in the case of persons who are charged with intimate partner violence and who had been previously convicted of similar such offences.

Would you be able to speak on any impact those reverse onus measures have had?

February 2nd, 2021 / 11:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay Conservative South Surrey—White Rock, BC

Ms. Smylie, what you're saying is very important, and we know that one of the hallmarks of abuse is isolation of the victim. We don't have a lot of time here, though, and I have another quick question.

Bill C-75, which was an act to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was introduced in July 2019. It created a reverse onus at bail for persons accused of violent offences involving intimate partner violence. I'm wondering if there's any evidence that leading up to and during the pandemic this reverse onus burden shift has decreased the number of reoffenders of intimate partner violence. Has that helped?

February 2nd, 2021 / 11:15 a.m.
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Stéphanie Bouchard Senior Legal Counsel and Director, Department of Justice

Bonjour, I'm going to give my remarks that my colleague, Nathalie Levman, was supposed to provide. They're still trying to connect her to the committee. We apologize for the inconvenience.

I am the director of the policy centre for victim issues within the criminal law section at Justice.

Thank you for welcoming us to your study of controlling or coercive conduct within intimate relationships.

Coercive control in the context of intimate partner violence refers to a pattern of controlling behaviour that takes place over time and serves to entrap victims, eliminating their sense of freedom in the relationship.

A broad range of controlling conduct may be employed but the focus is on how a pattern of such conduct serves to subjugate, not the individual incidents wherein abusers exercise control.

Specifically, coercive control is concerned with the cumulative impact of the abusive conduct on the victim.

Legal systems have been struggling with responding to intimate partner violence, and other forms of family violence, for decades.

Criminal law has traditionally responded to incidents of violence and other forms of abuse, not patterns of behaviour. A broad range of offences apply in the intimate partner violence context, depending upon the conduct at issue, including assault, sexual assault, uttering threats, intimidation, forceable confinement, fraud, making harassing phone calls, trespassing at night and mischief.

The Criminal Code also requires sentencing courts to treat abuse of the spouse or a child in the commission of an offence as an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes.

Additionally, as of 2015, non-consensual distribution of intimate images is also a criminal offence. Abusive spouses may also engage in this type of conduct to exercise control.

Criminal Code amendments enacted through former Bill C-75 in 2019 strengthened the criminal law's response to intimate partner violence by imposing a reverse onus on bail for repeat offenders, clarifying that abusing a current or former spouse, common-law partners and dating partners in the commission of an offence is an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes, and allowing a higher maximum penalty in cases involving repeat intimate partner violence offences.

In recognition of the fact that abusive conduct may involve a series of behaviours that can literally have an impact on victims' sense of physical or psychological safety, Parliament enacted the criminal harassment offence in 1993. This offence is designed to respond to the impact of a series of interrelated incidents on victims, in particular in the context of family violence, so the offence applies more broadly. It criminalizes engaging in specified conduct that causes a person reasonably, in all the circumstances, to fear for their physical or psychological safety, or that of a person known to them.

The focus of this offence is on the cumulative impact the conduct has on the victim, not individual incidents of abuse.

Criminal harassment may be charged alongside incident-based offences depending on the facts of the case.

Criminal Code peace bonds are also available to protect victims, including victims of intimate partner violence. Peace bonds may be imposed prior to the commission of an offence where any person fears, on reasonable grounds, that another person will cause personal injury including to their spouse or child, or will damage their property.

A wide range of conditions may be imposed, including no-contact orders, the breach of which is a criminal offence with the maximum penalty of four years imprisonment.

Ten provinces and all three territories have in place family violence legislation that complements these criminal law measures.

For example, this legislation authorizes emergency intervention orders, which can grant the victim the right to remain in the home and use the family vehicle. Conditions may also be imposed to restrain the abuser from communicating with, or contacting, the victim or members of the victim's family.

In terms of victim support, the federal victim strategy seeks to give a more effective voice in the criminal justice system to victims and survivors of crime in Canada. A key component of this strategy is the program development and delivery through the Justice Canada victims fund. A range of supports are available through this fund to victims of intimate partner violence. In particular, since 2016, the Government of Canada has made funding available through the victims fund to the provinces and territories in support of pilot projects to provide independent legal advice to victims of sexual violence.