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

Sponsor

Status

In committee (House), as of June 11, 2018

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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 life 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) allow the court to exempt an offender from the requirement to pay a victim surcharge if the offender satisfies the court that the payment would cause the offender undue hardship, provide the court with guidance as to what constitutes undue hardship, provide that a victim surcharge is to be paid for each offence, with an exception for certain administration of justice offences if the total amount of surcharges imposed on an offender for those types of offences would be disproportionate in the circumstances, require courts to provide reasons for granting any exception for certain administration of justice offences or any exemption from the requirement to pay a victim surcharge and clarify that the amendments described in this paragraph apply to any offender who is sentenced after the day on which they come into force, regardless of whether or not the offence was committed before that day; 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 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

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2018 / 8:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

I am glad my colleagues across the way find releasing murderers very humorous. We on this side do not think it is a laughing matter.

We have had over 200 serious cases of criminals being released because the Liberals had not appointed judges. On top of this, look at Bill C-75 lowering the penalty for being involved in a gang, lowering the penalty for using date rape drugs. It is a disgrace. The government needs to set its priority at looking after Canadians and not being soft on crime.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2018 / 8:55 p.m.
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Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to rise today and the hon. member spoke about Bill C-75 in conjunction with Bill C-71 and the fact that the Liberals are limiting the ability of judges and giving the option of imposing lesser sentences for some of the most egregious crimes in this country. Can the member comment further on how that is going to impact Canadians?

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2018 / 8:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” is a popular reference to William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet seems to argue that it does matter that Romeo is from her family's rival house of Montague and that he is a Montague himself. The reference is often used to imply that the names of things do not affect what they really are. Juliet compares Romeo to a rose, saying that if he was not named Romeo, he would be just as handsome and would still be Juliet's love.

In the case of Bill C-71, a gun registry by any other name is, well, a gun registry.

At committee stage, the Liberals passed one of the CPC amendments, which has been often quoted. It stated, “For greater certainty, nothing in this Act shall be construed so as to permit or require the registration of non-restricted firearms.”

When the Liberals adopted this amendment, we expected that they would also support changes that would remove the elements that essentially created a gun registry. Unfortunately, they did not. They kept the registrar tracking of the transfer of firearms, keeping a centralized government record, and that is a registry by another name.

It is very cynical and disingenuous of the Minister of Public Safety and other Liberals in the House to try to skew this as support for the language of the bill. It was much like watching the President of the Treasury Board the other day defending the Liberals' slush fund in vote 40 in the estimates by quoting the current and the past PBO, pretending these gentlemen were in support of the Liberal slush fund. However, Kevin Page, the former PBO, said that there is no way it is an improvement, and the current PBO said that their incomplete information will lead to weaker spending controls.

The bill before us would remove the reference to the five-year period that applies to background checks on licence applications, thereby eliminating any temporal restrictions on such checks. It would require that whenever a non-restricted firearm is transferred, the buyer must produce a licence, and the vendor must verify that it is valid, which would require a registrar to issue a reference number for such transactions. The bill would require commercial retailers to maintain records of their inventories and sales, and such records would be accessible to the police. It would put the power to classify weapons in the hands of the RCMP bureaucrats and take it out of the hands of parliamentarians, and it would amend the Long-gun Registry Act to allow a province to keep its gun registry records. It sounds like a registry.

What is missing from Bill C-71 is any reference to keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and gangs.

What bill does mention gangs and organized crime? Bill C-75 does, but only in relation to lighter sentences. What does Bill C-75 do? It lessens sentences to as little as fines for those participating in the activity of a terrorist group, much like the returning ISIS terrorist wandering around the streets of Toronto. If the government ever gets around to having him arrested, maybe we will hit him with a fine.

The penalty for administering a noxious drug, such as a date rape drug, can now be reduced to a fine. The penalty for advocating genocide is now reduced. It is somewhat ironic that the Liberals would use the word “genocide” in Bill C-75 for reducing the penalty, when they could not bear to say the word in the House to describe what was happening to the Yazidis overseas. The penalty for participating in organized crime would also be reduced in Bill C-75.

To sum up, Bill C-71 would go after law-abiding gun owners, and Bill C-75 would go soft on crime. Maybe we will set out some tea cozies and ask returning ISIS fighters to sit around the campfire and sing Kumbaya together.

To make the streets safer, I have to ask why the Minister of Public Safety does not just get up from his seat, walk about seven benches down, and tell the Minister of Justice to do her job and appoint some judges to the judiciary. In the Jordan ruling, people have a right to a timely trial, but the Liberals have not appointed enough judges, so we are letting accused murderers go. I want to talk about some of them.

Nick Chan, from Calgary, walked free this week. Who is Nick Chan? He was charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and instructing a criminal organization. If the Liberals want to get guns off the street, why do they not appoint judges so that we can keep people like Nick Chan in jail? He has also been accused in the past of murdering three other people and has been charged with firearm offences. Here we have Bill C-71 going after law-abiding gun owners, and we let someone like Nick Chan, who is charged with illegally possessing guns, go because we have not appointed judges.

James Coady, in Newfoundland, facing drug trafficking and weapons charges, was let go because there was no judge and he could not get a timely trial.

Van Son Nguyen was released in Quebec, the third accused murderer released in Quebec because he could not get a timely trial.

Lance Regan was released in Edmonton because, again, no judges.

However, let us focus on Bill C-71. Here is the worst one. A father was accused of breaking his two-week-old baby's ankles. He had his criminal charges stayed because he could not get a timely trial. The grandmother of the poor kid said, “We were angry, we were crying, we were outraged that he was able to get off with this (ruling).”

However, the Liberal government is tying us up with Bill C-71, going after law-abiding gun owners and ignoring its duty to appoint judges, letting murders go free, letting someone who breaks the ankles of a two-week-old baby go free. This is the priority.

In a television interview, the parliamentary secretary for justice said, “We border the largest handgun arsenal in the world.” I assume he means America. However, this bill would do nothing to address that issue.

The Minister of Public Safety says, “it's the drug trade, in particular, that is an intrinsic part of gang culture and gang-related violence and arguably causes the most harm in our communities” and that it is made worse by the “opioid crisis”. What do we have? Vote 40, the slush fund, which is supposed to get money out the door faster, has $1 million to address the opioid issue.

I want to talk about the departmental plans. Departmental plans are plans that every department has to put out. The departmental reports describe departmental priorities and expected results.

I will go to the Minister of Public Safety and see what his plan says, “If we can find a way to intervene early before tragedy strikes, we should.” Here is a hint for the Minister of Public Safety. He should walk down the row and tell the justice minister to appoint some judges and then maybe we can intervene before tragedy strikes.

He talks about safer communities being central to Public Safety Canada's mandate. He invites all Canadians to read the Public Safety Canada 2018-19 departmental plan to find out how it is keeping Canada and Canadians safe.

I have read the plans. I do not think anyone from the other side of the House has, and I am pretty sure the Minister of Public Safety has not read his own plans that he signed off on.

Under the section on national security and terrorism, it sets out four different targets. Departmental results indicate that the first one is Canada's ranking on global terrorism. I am surprised the government has not even set a target to compare things to. The next is Canada's ranking on cyber security, but there are no past areas to compare it to. Then the percentage of the population thinks the right mechanisms are in place for them to respond to terrorism. Once again, there is no target set. It goes on and on.

Under community public safety, and this is great, there are seven targets, three of them have no past targets to refer to. Therefore, the government is pulling a number out of the air as the target to achieve. For the percentage of stakeholders reported consulting public safety, the target is set at 60%. However, there is nothing in the past to compare it to. For stakeholders reporting good or very good results on projects funded through Public Safety, it is 80%. Compared to what? Nothing, everything is not applicable. Here is a great one. The crime severity index is going to go up. This measures, as it says, the severity of crime in Canada. This actually goes up over last year and up over the Harper era.

For the percentage of Canadians who think that crime in their neighbourhood has decreased, the goal for next year is to have it worse than it was in previous years. For crimes prevented in populations most at risk, it shows a drop in results. For the percentage of at-risk populations, there is no target. For the difference between police reporting in first nations communities, again, it shows a drop in results. The three-year plan actually shows 23% in funding cuts to community safety.

This shows the Liberal priorities. Instead of going after terrorists, instead of going after criminals, instead of going after gangs with guns, their priority is to prey on law-abiding gun owners and re-establishing a registry. It is a shame.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2018 / 8:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Rosemarie Falk Conservative Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight to speak to Bill C-71, an act to amend certain acts and regulations in relation to firearms.

This legislation would have an impact on many of my constituents who are law-abiding gun owners. In fact, this legislation would have a big impact on many Canadians.

Hunting is a big part of the livelihood, traditions, and recreational choices of a significant number of Canadians. Some Canadians also own firearms to protect their crops, livestock, or themselves from rabid animals, and animals like bears or coyotes. Others enjoy competing in recreational shooting sports and some are collectors. Whether they are hunters, farmers, sport shooters, or collectors, what these Canadians can be certain about is that Bill C-71 would result in greater unnecessary restrictions.

I do want to be clear that public safety should always be the priority of any government. Safe and sensible firearm policies are necessary to ensure public safety. Mandatory firearm safety courses, safe storage and transportation measures, and licensing are all common sense measures that contribute to public safety in Canada, measures law-abiding gun owners follow already. Under the guise of tackling gun violence and keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals, the Liberal government has brought forward Bill C-71.

The Liberal government's rhetoric is deceiving. A review of this legislation quickly reveals that the Liberals have completely missed the mark. This legislation would do nothing to address gangs, gun violence, and escalating crime rates in our rural communities. Instead, it would target law-abiding gun owners. It would treat Canadians who legally own firearms as criminals. In fact, a measure in this legislation has the potential of inadvertently making criminals of Canadian men and women who have legally purchased a firearm.

The Liberals are repealing parts of the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act. Specifically, the bill would put the ability to classify weapons solely back in the hands of RCMP bureaucrats, meaning the legislation we have before us would allow the RCMP to prohibit a firearm without notice. That could result in the confiscation of a firearm that was legally purchased and the owner could then be subject to criminal charges.

In 2014, unelected bureaucrats decided to reclassify Swiss Arms rifles and CZ 858 rifles. They were reclassified as prohibited, making it illegal to import, buy, sell, or own them. These rifles had been legal in Canada for years and many responsible law-abiding gun owners had purchased these rifles legally, but the decision to prohibit them turned these lawful gun owners into criminals in possession of prohibited firearms.

Our former Conservative government enacted common sense legislation that restored the property rights to these individuals. It created an appropriate balance, where based on expert advice, the government makes the rules and the RCMP interprets and enforces them.

Another measure that this legislation repeals is the authorization to transport a firearm to specific routine and lawful activities. The Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act automatically gave individuals with a licence authorization to transport their firearm to a shooting range, a police station, a chief firearms officer, a gunsmith, a gun store, a gun show, a border point, and home from the place of purchase. As indicated in the act, this measure was common sense. It removed unnecessary red tape.

Bill C-71 would repeal these measures. It would only allow for a firearm to travel to a shooting range or home from a place of purchase. Any other of the aforementioned activities would require a specific authorization to transport, issued at the discretion of the province's chief firearms officer.

Issuing authorizations to transport firearms to routine locations, like a gunsmith for repair or to the chief firearms officer for verification or registration, is unnecessary. It in no way addresses the criminal element behind gun violence.

Let us talk about the real elephant in the room tonight. This legislation is a backdoor attempt to bring back the wasteful and ineffective long-gun registry. The long-gun registry introduced by Chrétien's Liberal government was costly. Canadians were told it would only cost them $2 million, but in the end it cost more than $2 billion, and for what purpose? It was ineffective. There is no evidence that the long-gun registry prevented any crime in Canada. It seems that criminals and gang members never took the time to fill out the necessary paperwork. And there is no evidence that the new registry would be any different.

I admit that the Liberals have said that this legislation does not reintroduce a firearms registry. At the committee stage, they even voted in favour of a Conservative amendment denouncing any effort to re-establish a registry of non-restricted firearms. However, by now we all know that what the Liberals say and what they do are often very different.

The Liberals are said to be tackling crime through this legislation, but words like “gang” or “criminal organization” are not found in the text of the bill. What we do find are words like “registrar”, “registration”, “records”, and “reference number”. That is because this legislation creates a registry of non-restricted firearms. Bill C-71 would require firearm retailers to create and manage a registry of licensed non-restricted firearms buyers, which is a registry they would need to surrender to the chief firearms officer upon request. People would also require permission from the RCMP registrar of firearms to buy, sell, give, or loan a non-restricted rifle.

This begs the question that I know many of my colleagues on this side of the House have asked. What does a registrar do? The answer is quite simple: a registrar keeps a registry. The Liberals are using a federal registrar to keep records on non-restricted firearms. This is the “2.0” version of a federal firearms registry.

Canadians want safe and sensible firearms legislation, but that is simply not what the Liberals have offered them. Instead, they are creating more unnecessary red tape for law-abiding Canadians. They are casting suspicion on law-abiding firearms owners, while doing nothing to address the criminal element behind gun violence. Their priorities are backwards.

This is made only more evident when we consider Bill C-75, another bill introduced by the government. Bill C-75 lessens the sentences for serious and violent crimes to sentences as little as a fine. Some of the crimes that would be eligible for lighter sentencing under this legislation include participating in a terrorist activity, activities relating to human trafficking, kidnapping, forced marriage, or impaired driving causing bodily harm. These are very serious crimes. The punishment should fit the crime. A fine is not the appropriate sentence for these crimes and it is insulting to victims.

The Liberals are weakening the Canadian criminal justice system and making light of serious crimes. At the same time, they are sending a strong message to law-abiding gun owners by treating them like criminals.

I cannot support legislation that does nothing to address gangs, gun violence, and the escalating crime rates in rural communities. I cannot support legislation that enacts a backdoor firearms registry, and unnecessarily burdens law-abiding Canadians with regulations.

Bill C-71 is flawed legislation because it does not take appropriate action to prevent or deter gun violence. It burdens law-abiding Canadian citizens with red tape and villainizes my constituents who are hunters, farmers, and sport shooters.

When it comes down to it, the Liberals have again proven that they cannot be trusted to bring forward sensible and effective firearms legislation.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2018 / 8 p.m.
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Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to stand this evening to discuss Bill C-71. It is a bill that is going to change the Firearms Act, and Canadians do not trust the Liberals when it comes to firearms. That is abundantly clear.

One of the things I want to draw into this debate is Bill C-75, which is a bill the government is bringing in to change sentencing for a multitude of crimes in Canada. What are the Liberals doing in that bill? They are reducing the sentences for over 27 significant crimes. One of the crimes they are reducing them for is participation in a terrorist plot. They are reducing the sentence.

Why are the Liberals doing this? It is because they have a “hug a thug” theory that if we would just like terrorists better, they would not perpetrate terrorism against our country. We have seen this on display already. They have given $10.5 million to a terrorist named Omar Khadr. They are now reducing their crimes and have given citizenship back to terrorists.

Canadians do not trust the government when it comes to getting it right. When the Liberals come out with firearms legislation that they say is going to reduce crime, Canadians do not believe them. They say that their track record up to this point has been to reduce sentences, not to reduce crime. We have seen a dramatic increase in crime across Canada.

I was in Toronto earlier this month and met with people who said that break and enters were up in their community. In my community, we have seen rural crime up significantly across all parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan. When the Liberals introduced Bill C-71 and said that this was going to reduce violent crime and gun crime, Canadians looked at the government and said, “Really?” Nothing it has done up to this point has reduced crime whatsoever, and now we are supposed to expect that suddenly, with Bill C-71, the Liberals are going to reduce crime.

What would the bill do? Would it increase sentences for criminals? Would it ensure that if a firearm was used in a crime there would be more restrictions? If weapons were smuggled in from another country, would that change anything? Would it enhance border security? No, it would not do any of that.

What would it do? It would target the people who already have a firearms licence. People who have a firearms licence would now be required to go through an extra hurdle, an extra hoop to jump through, and call whenever they transferred a firearm.

Where I come from, firearms are a fact of life. Typically, every household has a number of firearms. It is just the way the world works where I come from. Firearms are exchanged on a regular basis. There are entire Facebook pages committed to exchanging firearms. Someone says, “I have a firearm. Come and check it out.”

The Liberals rolled out this legislation and said that we do not even have to show a firearms licence to get a firearm in Canada. That is news to me, a firearms owner who has a firearms licence. I need to show my possession acquisition licence, my PAL, every time. I have never gone to buy ammunition and forgotten my PAL and asked to have it sold to me. They have to see my licence before they sell me any ammunition.

The criminals who robbed my local firearms store certainly did not show their PAL. They just broke in and stole the firearms. That is what we are dealing with.

With this particular piece of legislation, I would have to make a phone call to ensure that my PAL was up to date. It says right on my PAL whether it has expired. That should be good enough. When I renew it, I have to fill out all the paperwork again. Once every five years, I have to fill out the paperwork again. They phone my wife to make sure that she is okay with me having firearms. Every time I renew, I have to fill out my wife's contact information, her email address, etc.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2018 / 7:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Mr. Speaker, one of the things I would like to point out with Bill C-71 is the fact that when it comes to firearms and when it comes to dealing with crime, the Liberals have it all backwards. If we look at Bill C-75 and Bill C-71 at the same time, we see that law-abiding Canadians, Canadians who are jumping through all the hoops that the Liberals put in place, are being punished by Bill C-71. However, when we look at Bill C-75, the so-called enhancements of the judicial system, we see that the Liberals are downgrading all of the sentencing for a lot of the crimes across Canada.

What does my colleague have to say about the complete lack of clarity between the two pieces of legislation?

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2018 / 6:50 p.m.
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Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am proud as a licenced firearms owner to be speaking today against Bill C-71.

I have been listening to the debate, and I am quite amazed at the ridiculous comments coming from Liberal members.

For the member of Winnipeg North to claim that the amendment that was proposed by the Conservatives to ensure “with certainty” in the beginning of the bill that is not a registry and that this somehow changes the rest of the bill is ridiculous. That clause would put the rest of the act in conflict, and it is contrary to what it says. If Bill C-71 would no longer be a registry, then we should be striking out all the words in it that refers to “a registry” and “a registrar”.

As Conservatives, we will always support sound policy that ensures the safe storage and handling of firearms. All of us as licenced firearms owners have to take the proper courses to ensure that our firearms are stored kept under lock and key. We will support the proper screening of those who are applying to become firearms owners.

We want to ensure, as we go forward, that firearms are classified on function and not on visual looks. We also have to ensure that everyone who commits a crime using a firearm is properly treated under the Criminal Code. However, Bill C-75 would do none of that. Bill C-75 does not mention criminals, gangs, gun dealers, and is completely mute on the subject, and for that I am appalled.

Then, when we combine Bill C-71 with Bill C-75, the proposal coming from the Liberals to amend the Criminal Code, those guys want to look like they are getting tough on crime, but they are getting tough on legal firearms owners. When it comes down to the real criminals, the Liberals are going to take indictable offences that provide jail time and mandatory minimum sentences to criminal offenders and turn them into fines, a slap on the wrist. Those types of summary convictions are no way to treat real criminals, but that is the hug-a-thug, soft-on-crime Liberal mentality.

Here they are getting tough on firearms owners. They are going to make it more difficult for us to own and transport our firearms and transfer them to other people. However, if someone commits assault with a weapon, then that person can have a summary conviction, get a slap on the wrist and a fine. If people participate in a terrorist group or leave Canada to participate in a terrorist group, the Liberals are just going to slap them on the wrist and maybe put them on house arrest. There will be no mandatory minimums; it is going to be a summary conviction.

There are over 27 things. People could advocate for genocide, or abduct someone under the age of 16 or children under the age of 14 and get summary convictions. That soft-on-crime mentality is percolating through those Liberal benches, which is making Canada more dangerous. However, they are taking law-abiding firearms owners, the most law-abiding citizens in the country, and turning them into criminals. It is ridiculous. I find the mantra of the Liberals completely disgusting.

Nothing in Bill C-71 will fix the gang violence and the gun violence on our streets, whether it is in Toronto, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal, or Vancouver. It will do nothing to stop it. Nor will it stop the crimes that we see in our rural communities and rural areas where there are more and more home invasions and properties being ransacked.

The member for Winnipeg North was saying that the bill had nothing to do with a registry. As has already been pointed out, in Bill C-71, subsection 29(1) says that we can provide a copy from the Canadian Firearms Registry to the Quebec government if the Quebec minister requests it. It is right here. The front-door gun registry, the actual registry that existed until 2015, is being moved over to the Quebec government.

The bill also talks about this issue of whether there is a registry. If there is no registry, why is there is a registrar in the bill? Bill C-71 keeps talking about the registrar. In section 23 paragraph (2) provides for reference numbers for the transfer of a firearm from one owner to another. We know that registrars keep reference numbers, because they have a registry.

Regardless of the rhetoric coming from across the way, we have a situation where the bill again establishes a backdoor gun registry on top of the front-door registry, with records being transferred to the province of Quebec.

We know that the registrar along with the chief firearms officers in each province will monitor the movement of our firearms from one area to the other. The only thing that will keep is that those of us who own firearms that are restricted in nature will be able to take them to our shooting clubs and ranges without having to get an authorization to transport that firearm.

However, if we want to take that firearm to a gun show, or a gunsmith to be fixed and maintained or even to return it to a peace officer, if we no longer wanted to have a firearm, or we did not want to pass it on to our family or sell it to a friend or a neighbour, we would have to get an authorization to transfer it. That is ridiculous, but that is the type of thing the Liberals believe in and that is what they have put in the bill. That is disturbing.

We can look at 2016 and look at what Gary Mauser at Simon Fraser University, who has done a lot of this work, had to say. Essentially he said that in 2016, out of the 223 gun murders that occurred, only 2% were committed by licenced firearms owners. Over half of them were committed by those involved in gangs. If the drug cartels, the biker gangs, the different gang organizations out there are committing most of the firearm offences, causing murders and criminality, then should we not be concentrating on them rather than giving them a pass in Bill C-75, rather than ignoring them completely in Bill C-71? Why are the Liberals always ready to turn a blind eye to crimes being committed by gangs.

We know criminals do not register their firearms. We know criminals do not buy their firearms from Cabela's or any other store that sells firearms. It is a ridiculous idea and an asinine policy to burden legal firearms owners, to burden our retail outlets that sell firearms with extra red tape and extra bureaucracy. They may not have to pay for a registration fee anymore, but we know all this data will be in the hands of the Government of Canada. We know that all this data, when it comes down to transferring firearms, when it comes down to transferring ownership between individuals, will be kept with a registrar. Registrars are the operators of registries.

Again, I am disappointed. It is almost 20 years since Allan Rock brought forward the first gun registry, which the Conservatives worked long and hard to get rid of it. I committed myself to that back in 1993. Here we are in 2018, talking about the Liberals bringing back an other gun registry. It is back to the future. It is the same old, same old when it comes to the tired Liberal governments. We cannot allow that to continue.

I call on all members of the House to vote against this poorly thought-out legislation, which would do absolutely nothing to protect Canadians. It would do absolutely nothing to enhance the screening of firearms ownership in the country. It would do absolutely nothing to help with our border services to stop illegal transport of firearms into the country.

This has been poorly thought out, but I am not surprised. It is coming from the Liberal government. It is an attack on law-abiding citizens, farmers, hunters, sports shooters, men and women who pass this culture on to their children and grandchildren, and I am proud to be part of that. I am ashamed to see the Liberals ramming this down our throats once again.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2018 / 6:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-71 was introduced on the premise that it was supposed to stop gun and gang violence, but Bill C-75 would taking out all of the minimum mandatory sentences for crimes committed using firearms. They are at cross-purposes. Bill C-71 would regulate law-abiding citizens even more, and Bill C-75 would let criminals off the hook, allowing them to get out of jail sooner and back on the streets committing crime.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2018 / 6:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Mr. Speaker, without a doubt, this is the backdoor long-gun registry. I think the words “registrar” or “register” were in the bill over 13 times.

This is a particularly interesting bill when you see it in light of Bill C-75, which I like to call the “hug-a-thug” bill. In Bill C-75, the government seems to be reducing the sentencing for all kinds of crimes.

Does my hon. colleague have an opinion on how this Liberal government is viewed by the general public in terms of Bill C-71 on the one hand, and Bill C-75 on the other?

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2018 / 5:20 p.m.
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Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, I find it interesting. We have Bill C-71 here. We have a good firearms registry in this country, because people who want to participate in firearms activities have to be licensed and get the proper certification. This bill just adds more bureaucracy. It is more of a process. It creates more difficulty for legitimate people to actually be involved in these kinds of hobbies.

I would like to have my colleague just comment on the difference between this bill, which reflects the attitude of the government on Bill C-71 and the fact that it is clamping down on legitimate, honest people across this country, and Bill C-75, which reduces the sentences for things like terrorism, genocide, criminal activity, organized municipal corruption, and those kinds of things.

Could she reflect on that a bit?

June 19th, 2018 / 5 p.m.
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Liberal

Jody Wilson-Raybould Liberal Vancouver Granville, BC

I appreciate the question. The elimination of peremptory challenges is one aspect of the jury reforms we're proposing in Bill C-75. Peremptory challenges—which is the ability of a crown or a defence counsel to eliminate an individual without giving a reason—have been considered to not provide, or to discriminate against, a broad diversity of individuals sitting on a jury.

Through the other measures in the proposed changes, we're seeking to ensure that there is the ability to have diversity on a jury.

We're going to continue to work with the provinces and territories around other reforms with respect to jury selection, given the responsibilities that provinces and territories have around lists and bringing individuals in to serve on juries, to ensure that there is a diversity of perspectives of individuals who sit on juries.

Firearms ActGovernment Orders

June 19th, 2018 / 4:55 p.m.
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Conservative

David Sweet Conservative Flamborough—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-71, an act to amend certain acts and regulations in relation to firearms.

I have been a member of this place for nearly 13 years. I am proud that over that time I have played a part in legislation that ensures Parliament is reaching three important objectives: first, that laws are put in place to protect the public from violent crime; second, that we are standing up for victims of crime and their families; and third, that law-abiding Canadians are treated with respect.

In this case, Bill C-71 misses the mark on all three of these objectives.

I recognize, and indeed our previous Conservative government recognized, how important it is to ensure that violent offenders and those who intend on using weapons to commit crimes are taken off the streets. I am certainly an advocate for legislation that targets dangerous offenders, protects our public, and ensures justice for victims and their families. I am proud that over my time here, I have been able to do my part to do just that.

In 2013, I introduced Bill C-479, an act to bring fairness for the victims of violent offenders. This legislation, which received all-party support, made certain that violent offenders who were clearly not remorseful or ready to be reintegrated into society could not drag their victims and their families before the Parole Board every year needlessly.

Indeed, any laws that aim to tackle violent crime must also seek to protect victims of violent offenders and their families from being re-victimized. They must also ensure that these offenders, those that are among the most likely to reoffend, do not get that opportunity.

By introducing legislation such as the Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act, the Safe Streets and Communities Act, and the Tackling Violent Crime Act, among many others, our Conservative government implemented productive, common-sense policies that treated firearms owners in the manner that any law-abiding citizen should be treated, while also cracking down on violent offenders and protecting the rights of victims.

The Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act took the power to reclassify firearms out of the hands of the RCMP and officials and put it in the hands of parliamentarians, who could be held accountable by the public. In doing so, our government sought to prevent any law-abiding citizen from being criminalized due to an unsubstantiated classification change.

The Tackling Violent Crime Act mandated jail time for serious gun crimes and made bail provisions stricter for those who had been accused of such crimes.

The Organized Crime and Protection of Justice System Participants Act provided police and justices with crucial new tools to fight against organized crime and to target reckless shootings by adding a new offence for the use of a firearm in the commission of a crime, regardless of whether the person caused or meant to cause bodily harm.

Of course, who could forget that we repealed the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry, which did absolutely nothing to reduce crime, but did waste millions in taxpayer dollars to treat law-abiding Canadians like criminals. In fact, I would challenge my Liberal colleagues to show me any data that would prove that there has been any increase in firearms crimes from legal firearms owners since the firearms registry was eliminated.

These are just a very small sample of the measures our previous Conservative government took to protect our communities and keep Canadians safe.

It is a shame now that the current Liberal government is trying to undo the progress we made. We have seen over the past two and a half years that the government cannot be trusted when it comes to protecting the public, while also protecting the rights of farmers and recreational and competitive firearms owners.

Bill C-71 proposes a myriad of changes that would potentially criminalize law-abiding Canadians, while doing nothing to target violent offenders or organized crime. The bill would put firearms classification powers back in the hands of unelected officials who Canadians cannot hold accountable, and risks unsubstantiated changes that would indeed create legal problems for people who have done nothing wrong. For my colleagues across the way, we experienced that in the last session when changes were made. Some members of Parliament who possessed firearms were criminalized by the changes.

What is worse is that the Liberals are pretending they are not trying to bring back the long-gun registry, which is nothing less than misleading. This bill would create a registrar to keep track of transfers of non-restricted firearms, yet the government insists it is not bringing back the long-gun registry.

I took the liberty of doing a quick Google search for the word “registrar”, and right at the top of the page was a definition that read, “an official responsible for keeping a register or official records.” That certainly sounds like a long-gun registry to me, and it sounds equally as wasteful and ineffective as the last one.

Originally, our caucus was optimistic about the government's intentions when it accepted our amendment at committee, which stated, “For greater certainty, nothing in this Act shall be construed so as to permit or require the registration of non-restricted firearms.” However, much to our surprise, it rejected our additional amendments that would have ensured that the elements of Bill C-71 to bring in this new long-gun registry were taken out of the bill. The government can say that it is not bringing back the long-gun registry, and I have heard it say that many times, but that does not make it true.

Meanwhile, Bill C-75, the government's legislation that proposes to overhaul the Criminal Code, would reduce penalties for very serious crimes, in some cases down to simple fines. The penalties for crimes like participating in the activities of a terrorist group, advocating genocide, and participating in organized criminal activity are being reduced in one piece of legislation, while farmers are being potentially criminalized in another. That is absolutely shameful.

The riding I represent, Flamborough—Glanbrook, is home to many farmers, hunters and sport shooters. These are people who are legally and safely using their firearms to protect their livestock and their crops, and who are participating in recreational pastimes that are ingrained in our national heritage.

I have heard from a wide variety of firearms owners in my riding who are deeply concerned that the government is targeting them through this bill, while completely neglecting to address rising crime rates in rural communities across the country which are particularly derived from illegal imported firearms.

I personally enjoy going down to the range for recreational purposes, and I completely understand the concerns of my constituents. They are concerned that they could be randomly criminalized by bureaucrats who they would be wholly unable to hold to account. They are concerned that the government is increasing red tape and treating them like criminals when they have done absolutely nothing wrong.

As has already been pointed out by our Conservative caucus several times throughout debate on this bill, this new long-gun registry that the Liberals are bringing in through the back door is treating law-abiding Canadians like suspects, and that is just not right.

The tandem of Bill C-71 and Bill C-75 is symbolic of much of the last two and a half years, where the government has been terribly ineffective on numerous files. The Liberals introduced these two pieces of legislation with the notion that they wished to tackle gun violence. However, they are doing nothing of the sort. What these bills would do is potentially criminalize law-abiding farmers, hunters, and sport shooters, and reduce the penalties for very serious and violent crimes. What they would not do is make our communities safer.

Canadians want to feel safe in their communities and their homes. They want a government that ensures that those who pose a threat to them and their families are taken off the streets. Bill C-71, and Bill C-75 for that matter, would do nothing of the sort.

This legislation is not only deeply flawed, but wasteful, and quite frankly offensive to the thousands of law-abiding Canadians who it will affect. Our Conservative caucus is determined to ensure that the laws we produce in this place protect our communities and respect the rights of law-abiding Canadians. Anything less is not good enough.

June 19th, 2018 / 4:55 p.m.
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Director General and Senior General Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Policy Sector, Department of Justice

Carole Morency

I just want to point out that Bill C-75 does address some of the key principles that will govern under what circumstances a remote appearance would be appropriate. It directs the court to consider all of the circumstances, including the rights of the accused to a fair, just trial, to make full answer and defence, and the circumstances where it would be appropriate, where the technology exists and for what types of procedures.

That is addressed in the bill and we'd be happy to answer other questions.

June 19th, 2018 / 4:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Thank you so much, Mr. Fraser.

Thank you so much, Minister, for your time and for coming in today.

I have a question about intimate partner violence. The law and the judiciary have really been pushing the needle forward on this in cases such as Ewanchuk, where the defence of implied consent was rejected, and Lavallee, where the battered woman syndrome was recognized officially, and now we have legislation.

Can you please explain how Bill C-75 will move forward progress on intimate partner violence? Second, we know the judiciary plays a huge role in this as well, in sensitivity and understanding gender diversity. For the record, can you also explain what is the percentage of women on our benches and how we are moving that forward as well?

Thank you.

June 19th, 2018 / 4:50 p.m.
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Carole Morency Director General and Senior General Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Policy Sector, Department of Justice

In response to the question, the approach in Bill C-75 is to come at it from a procedural perspective, and it's looking at offences that are straight indictable now—10, five, and two years, as the minister has responded.

Perhaps implicit in the question is that the name of the offence suggests that it is only capable of being committed in one way and in the most serious way. I think that as the minister said in her opening remarks, offences recognized with the penalty structure recognize that an offence can be committed in a variety of ways, and it can range from less serious—the gravity can be less—to the more serious on the scale.

That's the approach that Bill C-75 has taken: to provide a procedural option to crowns in appropriate cases to seek to move in a more simple, expeditious way for cases that, based on existing case law, based on the circumstances of the case before the court, will dictate that it's more likely that case is going to get a sentence at that lower end of the spectrum for sentencing. It is not to suggest that the existing case law that says that a serious case that in similar circumstances should attract a penalty of eight years on a maximum of 10 should still attract a penalty of eight years if it's appropriate and proportionate to other cases in similar situations.