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

Record Suspension ProgramPrivate Members' Business

May 7th, 2018 / 11:20 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Motion No. 161, a motion that calls for a study on the impacts of people in Canada with a criminal past who seek a record suspension.

As a member of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, I must say that this is not a pressing public safety or national security issue. It does not deal with the immediate concerns of gangs, guns, and violent crime, illegal border crossings, cybersecurity threats by foreign states, extremist attacks, or any kind of the myriad of crime concerns. However, while we debate the merits of the record suspension study, I have to say that my sympathies are generally not with those seeking a record suspension, but rather with the people who have been harmed by their crimes.

Record suspensions should not be something that anyone with a criminal past can get. Some crimes can and should remain forever on someone's record. The member for Saint John—Rothesay cites minor crimes committed years ago. However, it is the serious criminals and repeat offenders that are generally the concern, not one-time shoplifters. The fact is that one-time shoplifters are usually dealt with by means of alternative measures.

For the member's information, records do not prevent someone from obtaining employment. As an employer myself years back, I had many employees in my operation who had criminal records. It did not prevent them at all from working.

What we are talking about today are those with a record of a serious crime, like sexual assault, child abuse, trafficking, homicide, and other violent crimes. While I appreciate that some of those convicted of these types crimes have a difficult time, a burden they have brought upon themselves in most cases, having a record creates a deterrent. It is a reminder that these crimes are not welcome in society.

As a person of faith, I do believe in forgiveness. However, it is easy to forgive when we are not the victim. Forgiveness is easy when it requires no sacrifice. It is, and continues to be, the top priority of this House to protect Canadians, ahead of political gains and party standing. I believe that the language of this motion, which focuses on the hardships of convicted criminals, once again follows the trend of the current Liberal government to be soft on criminals. It should place the consideration of victims and honest, hard-working Canadians first.

Under the previous Conservative government, record suspensions were put more in line with our values as a society. We removed the term “pardon” to reflect that this was not an elimination of their past, but rather a recognition of the efforts made by those individuals to change their criminal past and live an honest contributing life within our society.

The Conservatives also removed criminals like child predators and repeat offenders with three or more indictable offences from being eligible to receive a pardon. As the member mentioned in his speech, this issue is not about a teenager shoplifting but about record suspensions for serious criminals.

The Conservatives also made it a user-pay model, so that taxpayers did not have to cover the costs of record suspension reviews.

Finally, the number of years that people with serious criminal convictions, like violence and sexual crimes, had to demonstrate that they were rehabilitated before they could obtain a record suspension doubled. Summary conviction offences went from three years to five years. Indictable offences went from five years to 10 years. To me, this is common sense. Actions have consequences, and those who have acted in a manner that many in our society might find unforgivable have longer-lasting consequences.

As someone who has worked in law enforcement and experienced the dark side of our society and complete lack of value that some place on other humans and human life, it is hard to reconcile those experiences with the sympathies of my Liberal colleagues. Looking at how many Liberals in the government have viewed public safety to date, I cannot say that the country we are building is safer than that of our past. Rather than feeling sympathy for victims of crime and defending those who respect and honour our laws, the Liberals seem to place misguided sympathy with those who have committed the crimes.

In Bill C-75, for example, which is the new Liberal legislation to change the criminal justice system, the Minister of Justice is seeking to water down protections for clergy. Having recently withdrawn from its previous position after considerable backlash from Canadians, the government has again sought to lower or remove protections against clergy in Canada. At a time of heightened hate crimes and increased religious conflict, we are making it easier to carry out a crime against any religious group. The government is giving lighter sentences on assaults with weapons, terrorism, rioting, and corruption. I have not met a Canadian who has asked us to water down protections. That certainly was not the Liberal mandate that the government received from Canadians.

However, the Liberals are getting tougher on some, primarily on law-abiding gun owners. The new gun legislation, Bill C-71, creates more rules and red tape, and potentially criminalizes honest Canadians who have not broken the law or harmed anyone. It is a regulatory bill, not a public safety bill. It appears that the Liberals' policy is to lighten penalties on criminals, make life harder for those who follow the law, and ignore real threats to Canadians by reducing penalties for serious crimes. It is hard to reconcile how a government so obsessed with image and photo shoots could be so completely out of touch with the needs of Canadians.

Any changes to our country's criminal justice system must place victims first. Too often, victims pay the price while the system works for criminals. For those with a criminal history, it is not up to society to change for them. Actions have consequences, and we have a path laid out to rehabilitation through prison and parole systems. Criminals who have been released must take on their own rehabilitation to earn their place back into being a productive member of society. No one can earn that for them, and no one else can give it to them. As Thomas Paine once said, “That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly.” If we hand out record suspensions with ease, they are, by human nature, valued less.

I am particularly concerned of the potential risk that softer record suspension rules will have on vulnerable sectors in our society. We know that agencies all across this country ask law enforcement to perform tens of thousands of vulnerable sector checks each year on individuals seeking to work or volunteer with our society's most vulnerable, namely, our children, our disabled, and our seniors. If record suspensions become easier to obtain, if the types of crimes for which someone can have his or her record expunged are expanded, and if the time it takes to demonstrate that one's life is truly free from crime is reduced, the possibility exists for increased risk for the vulnerable to be victimized. That is unacceptable.

Therefore, I am left, when looking at this motion and the various other public safety measures the government has proposed, to ask, where is the plan? There does not appear to be a plan, and that is not appropriate for this House, which should place the protections of the innocent first.

With violent crimes affecting local communities, gang violence taking the lives of so many young Canadians, and a drug crisis that continues to tear families apart, this House has important things to consider, and I just cannot say this is a top priority. Some crimes have the ability to shake our collective feeling of security across our communities and our country. In 2014, this House was shaken by an armed assault. In 2017, in Edmonton, an ISIS-inspired terrorist attacked a police officer and tried to kill other people with a van. Just last month in Toronto, all of us witnessed the madness that killed 10 people. We were not able to save those who were killed or injured, but we certainly should not reward the perpetrators and punish the victims.

Canadians want a government that ensures criminals face the full extent of the law. The Hon. Margaret Thatcher was fond of saying, “Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. What we think, we become.”

This motion tells us where the belief and attention is for the Liberal government. It is not with victims. It is not with law-abiding Canadians. It is not with police or national security. It seems to be with criminals.

I would caution my colleagues in government that their actions speak loudly to Canadians. Canadians are on the side of victims, police, and safer streets and communities, and they are on the side of families. Being on the wrong side of that will determine each of our political destinies.

May 1st, 2018 / 3:50 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Let us hope, but we'll see in a few minutes.

I'll speak to a couple of points that were made.

To Mr. MacGregor's point, I wholeheartedly agree with you that filling judicial vacancies is not the be-all and end-all, but it is the easiest thing. It is the most straightforward thing the minister can do, which is to get these vacancies filled in a timely manner. As for the Jordan decision, it doesn't mean that we won't continue to see cases that are thrown out due to delay, but we can help solve the problem, as a first meaningful step, by doing the obvious and simple thing, which is getting these vacancies filled.

Mr. Fraser made a couple of points. The first point he made was that the minister is, in fact, appointing judges. Well, obviously it's not fast enough—not fast enough when there are 60 judicial vacancies across Canada; not fast enough when it has taken the Minister of Justice a year and a half, and she has managed in that year and a half to fill only one of the new judicial posts in Alberta; and not good enough in the face of the Jordan decision, whereby the whole landscape has changed in terms of cases being thrown out due to delay. She has introduced a bill, Bill C-75, which in fact is probably going to make the situation even worse, but we can have that conversation another day.

In terms of the minister doing her job, to the first point that Mr. Fraser made, it in fact took the minister more than six months to appoint a single judge. For more than six months, she sat on her hands. Indeed, for a minister who is supposedly doing her job and filling these vacancies.... This is a minister who has presided on several occasions with a record number of vacancies, so it is not the case that the minister is dealing with it. To the degree that the minister is going to hide behind Bill C-75, I say it is too little, too late.

With respect to there being a lack of evidence that these vacancies are perpetuating the backlog, which in turn is perpetuating a crisis that is resulting in these cases being thrown out, with the greatest of respect to Mr. Fraser, for whom I do have a lot of respect, it is an absurdity. It is a matter of common sense that 10 or 12 judges in Alberta, for example, but also in other provinces, can hear a lot of cases. With respect to Mr. Fraser's point on that, I would suggest he tell that to former chief justice Wittmann of Alberta, who rather unusually, spoke out publicly expressing his deep frustration at the minister's inaction when it came to filling judicial vacancies.

With respect to his comments about the previous Conservative government, there was no Jordan decision under the previous Conservative government. We have now lived with Jordan for almost two years, and nothing has changed in terms of the manner in which the minister has been moving to expedite the appointment process. Clearly, once the Jordan decision was rendered, there should have been an emphasis on the part of the minister to expedite the process to see that these vacancies were filled in a timely manner. When you have 60 that are vacant across Canada today, and it's taken a year and a half and all the minister has managed to do is get one of the new judicial spots filled in Alberta, the only conclusion one can come to is that the minister is not taking seriously her responsibility of filling judicial vacancies in a timely manner.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

May 1st, 2018 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Colin Fraser Liberal West Nova, NS

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

With respect to the motion that Mr. Cooper has put forward, I do not support the motion, for a couple of reasons.

First of all, I know the motion has been provided in the time required in order to have it before our committee properly, but there was no discussion with any committee members, that I'm aware of, as to the merits of the motion itself. This is unfortunate, and perhaps could have led to some agreements on the nature of the motion itself.

More substantively, there are two premises in the motion itself that I believe are unfounded. The first one is that the vacancies are not being dealt with. I would submit that they are being dealt with. In fact, in 2017, there was a record number of appointments made by the Minister of Justice. There were over 100 appointments made. To date, there are, I believe 168 appointments that have been made by the current Minister of Justice. A new merit-based system, I would suggest, is better than the old way that it was done. It leads to a more diverse bench, but is also a more meritorious appointments process.

In fact, in Alberta, as Mr. Cooper referenced in particular, my understanding is that the vacancies are all new positions that this government has put forward. Granted, not all of them have been filled yet, but the new process will allow the appointment of justices, who will fill those positions shortly.

With regard to the other part of the motion dealing with a substantive premise, there is no evidence that the cases that have been stayed as a result of Jordan are due to the judicial vacancies themselves. Given those two premises not being founded, I do not support the motion.

I do find it a bit interesting that a Conservative member is bringing forward this motion, when we know that for many years under the previous government, there was a chronic number of judicial vacancies. In fact, Mr. Cooper may know this from being a lawyer from Alberta, according to a friend of mine who practises law in Alberta, it suspended some of its mandatory rules in its court in the years 2012-13, under the Conservative government, because of judicial vacancies. Those rules were suspended, which of course was a problem for people seeking justice in that province.

With all of that said, I think we need to address the issue of delay in our courts. Obviously, the Jordan case is a reality that we must deal with, but I don't think this motion address that at all.

I also would suggest that Bill C-75, which is now before Parliament, does address some of the issues with delay, and I know our committee will be dealing with it soon.

For all of those reasons, I do not support the motion.

Thank you.

JusticeStatements By Members

April 24th, 2018 / 2 p.m.
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Conservative

Matt Jeneroux Conservative Edmonton Riverbend, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government's omnibus justice bill, Bill C-75, misses the mark completely. This bill is an attempt by a government falling behind in the polls to pass legislation in order to keep promises it has been failing to uphold. Bill C-75 is a huge overstep by the government. I think it is incredibly important to protect the rights and freedoms of Canadians, but this goes above and beyond.

Under the proposed legislation, a number of serious offences, including child abduction, would be classified as hybrid offences. This would mean potentially lighter sentences for people accused of these serious crimes. Reducing these sentences would be a grave mistake.

I am not confident in the ability of the government to overhaul the justice system when it cannot even appoint judges on time, creating a backlog that allows criminals to walk free after long court delays.

Bill C-75 is another attempt by the government to parade its social justice agenda while jeopardizing the safety of Canadians.

Alleged Premature Disclosure of Contents of Bill C-75PrivilegeGovernment Orders

April 23rd, 2018 / 3:55 p.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I would like to provide a response to the question of privilege raised by the hon. member for Niagara Falls on April 17 with respect to the alleged premature disclosure of the content of Bill C-75.

My hon. colleague, in his statement, argued that the right of the House to first access to the text of the bill had been infringed. Our government takes these allegations, and the Speaker's recent decisions on related matters, very seriously.

I would argue that the matter before us today does not meet the requirements to be considered a prima facie breach of privilege. In fact, there was no premature disclosure of the bill.

On the subject of the confidentiality of a bill, the Speaker previously stated in his April 19, 2016, decision that:

....the House cannot allow precise legislative information to be distributed to others before it has been made accessible to all members.

This statement echoes the decisions of previous Speakers, such as Speaker Milliken's October 4, 2010, decision, which stated:

It is indisputable that it is a well-established practice and accepted convention that this House has the right of first access to the text of bills that it will consider.

Speaker Milliken also stated, in his November 1, 2006, decision, that:

The key procedural point....is that once a bill has been placed on notice, it must remain confidential until introduced in the House.

Again, I reiterate that all the rules have been complied with. In the present case, the article that the hon. opposition member referred to was published after the bill was tabled in the House.

At the core of the current debate lies the concept of parliamentary privilege. Matters of privilege and contempt can be broadly defined as: (1) anything improperly interfering with the parliamentary work of a Member of Parliament; or (2) an offence against the authority of the House.

The situation brought forward by the hon. member for Niagara Falls does not fit any of these categories, as no individual MP has been impeded, and there has not been any offence against the authority of the House.

Failing to see how anyone's right have been compromised or infringed, I would respectfully submit that this matter does not constitute a prima facie question of privilege.

JusticeOral Questions

April 23rd, 2018 / 2:55 p.m.
See context

Vancouver Granville B.C.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, again, I am happy to stand up to speak about the appointments process that we have instituted. We will follow the appointments process for every appointment that I make.

I have made 167 appointments to the superior courts across this country, 27 in Alberta. I will add again, there were 100 appointments last year, a record of any minister of justice in over two decades.

I look forward to the member opposite also supporting Bill C-75, as we are committed to ensuring that we reduce the delays in the justice system.

JusticeOral Questions

April 23rd, 2018 / 2:55 p.m.
See context

Vancouver Granville B.C.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to ensuring that we continue to move forward to transform the criminal justice system, with an eye to public safety, protecting victims, and holding offenders to account.

We are going to continue to move on this. This is why our government introduced Bill C-75, which I look forward to the members opposite supporting, given that they are concerned as well about delays in the criminal justice system.

I was also proud and continue to be proud of appointing meritorious judges across the country, 167 in fact, and last year, in 2017, 100 judges, the most of any justice minister in two decades.

JusticeOral Questions

April 23rd, 2018 / 2:55 p.m.
See context

Vancouver Granville B.C.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to ensuring that we continue to move forward with broad-based criminal justice reform to address delays that were identified by the Supreme Court of Canada.

I was grateful to introduce Bill C-75. I look forward to the member opposite supporting Bill C-75 as we move forward, because it will substantially address the delays in the criminal justice system. I am going to continue to appoint meritorious judges across the country, including in Alberta, of which I have appointed 27 thus far.

JusticeOral Questions

April 19th, 2018 / 2:55 p.m.
See context

Vancouver Granville B.C.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, again, I am committed to continuing to appoint meritorious judges to the superior courts across this country. The member opposite should know that appointing judges is not necessarily the main reason that delays exist. What we are doing is fulfilling our government's commitment to follow through to significantly address court delays by introducing bold reform by way of Bill C-75. I expect the member opposite will support these measures because they would significantly reduce the delays in the criminal justice system.

JusticeOral Questions

April 19th, 2018 / 2:55 p.m.
See context

Vancouver Granville B.C.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, our government is committed to improving the efficiencies and the effectiveness of the criminal justice system to ensure victims are supported, to ensure that offenders are taken to account, and to ensure public safety.

Delays in the criminal justice system are not new. They certainly existed in the previous government. The case of reference started to make its way through the system well in advance of our taking government. What is new is that we have taken significant steps by introducing Bill C-75, which aims to take bold action to address delays. As well, I have appointed 167 judges to the superior courts of this country.

JusticeOral Questions

April 18th, 2018 / 3:05 p.m.
See context

Vancouver Granville B.C.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, our government has taken responsibility by moving forward with criminal justice reform that keeps communities safe, protects victims, and holds offenders to account. By way of introducing Bill C-75, we have fulfilled a commitment to bring forward substantive reform to the criminal justice system that will fundamentally address delays, if passed.

Further to that, I take my responsibility of appointing superior court justices incredibly seriously. One hundred and sixty-seven have been appointed, with 27 appointed in Alberta. We will continue to appoint judges to ensure that all vacancies are filled.

Alleged Premature Disclosure of Contents of Bill C-75PrivilegeOral Questions

April 17th, 2018 / 3:10 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege concerning the premature disclosure of the contents of Bill C-75, an act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other acts and to make consequential amendments.

The Minister of Justice introduced the bill on Holy Thursday, before the Easter long weekend, on March 29, 2018, at 12:11 p.m. At 12:19 p.m., eight minutes after the minister introduced the bill, CBC posted an article entitled “Liberals propose major criminal justice changes to unclog Canada's courts”.

The article goes into detail about Bill C-75 to make a prima facie case that CBC had prior knowledge of the contents of Bill C-75 before it was introduced.

For example, the article states that “The Liberal government tabled a major bill today to reform Canada's criminal justice system”, saying it contained measures designed to close gaps in the system and speed up court proceedings, including putting an end to preliminary inquiries except for the most serious crimes that carry a life sentence. It said, “The changes also include an end to peremptory challenges in jury selection” and that another proposed reform of the bill will “impose a reverse onus on bail applications by people who have a history of [domestic] abuse, which would require them to justify their release following a charge.”

Bill C-75 is an omnibus bill containing 302 pages. While I appreciate the quality of journalism at the CBC, I do not think anyone can believe that someone could read 302 pages, analyze what was read, write an article, and then post the article on the Internet with various links in just eight minutes. If such extraordinary human capabilities exist at CBC or if unknown technology exists to make this happen, then the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs would like to hear about it.

All I am asking of you, Mr. Speaker, is to find a prima facie case on the question of privilege to allow a motion to be moved instructing the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to look into this matter.

On March 21, 1978, at page 3,975 of Debates, Mr. Speaker Jerome quoted a British procedure committee report of 1967, which states in part:

...the Speaker should ask himself, when he has to decide whether to grant precedence over other public business to a motion which a Member who has complained of some act or conduct as constituting a breach of privilege desires to move, should be, not--do I consider that, assuming that the facts are as stated, the act or conduct constitutes a breach of privilege, but could it reasonably be held to be a breach of privilege, or to put it shortly, has the Member an arguable point? If the Speaker feels any doubt on the question, he should, in my view, leave it to the House.

Now, whether it be superhuman capabilities or advanced unknown technology available only to the media, it is unacceptable for members of Parliament to be left behind playing catch-up while the public debate on a government bill takes place outside the House, minutes after its introduction, between a well-briefed media and a well-briefed Minister of Justice.

It has become an established practice in this House that when a bill is on notice for introduction, the House has the first right to the contents of that legislation.

On April 14, 2016, the former opposition leader and current Leader of the Opposition raised a question concerning the premature disclosure of Bill C-14, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying).

The Leader of the Opposition pointed out that specific and detailed information contained in Bill C-14 was reported in a newspaper article and elsewhere in the media before the bill had been introduced in the House. The member stressed the need for members to access information in order to fulfill their parliamentary responsibilities, as well as the respect required for the essential role of the House in legislative matters.

On April 19, 2016, the Speaker agreed with the Leader of the Opposition and found that there was indeed a prima facia case of privilege regarding Bill C-14. He said:

As honourable members know, one of my most important responsibilities as Speaker is to safeguard the rights and privileges of members, individually and collectively. Central to the matter before us today is the fact that, due to its pre-eminent role in the legislative process, the House cannot allow precise legislative information to be distributed to others before it has been made accessible to all members. Previous Speakers have regularly upheld not only this fundamental right, but also expectation, of the House.

The Speaker's concluding remarks on April 19, 2016, were as follows:

In this instance, the chair must conclude that the House's right of first access to legislative information was not respected. The chair appreciates the chief government whip's assertion that no one in the government was authorized to publicly release the specific details of the bill before its introduction. Still, it did happen, and these kinds of incidents cause grave concern among hon. members. I believe it is a good reason why extra care should be taken to ensure that matters that ought properly to be brought to the House first do not in any way get out in the public domain prematurely.

On October 4, 2010, on page 4,711 of the House of Commons Debates, Speaker Milliken said:

It is indisputable that it is a well-established practice and accepted convention that this House has the right of first access to the text of bills that it will consider.

There was a similar case March 19, 2001, regarding the Department of Justice briefing the media on a bill before members of Parliament. This was referenced by the Leader of the Opposition in his submission on the Bill C-14 case, in which he quoted Speaker Milliken as saying, at page 1,840 of the House of Commons Debates:

In preparing legislation, the government may wish to hold extensive consultations and such consultations may be held entirely at the government's discretion. However, with respect to material to be placed before parliament, the House must take precedence. Once a bill has been placed on notice, whether it has been presented in a different form to a different session of parliament has no bearing and the bill is considered a new matter. The convention of the confidentiality of bills on notice is necessary, not only so that members themselves may be well informed, but also because of the pre-eminent rule which the House plays and must play in the legislative affairs of the nation.

The Speaker found another case of contempt on October 15, 2001, after the Department of Justice briefed the media on the contents of a bill prior to the legislation being introduced in the House. The leak of Bill C-75 is another example of the government's disregard for Parliament and its role in the legislative process. It is important that we in the opposition call out the government for these abuses of Parliament and place before the Chair any breaches of the privileges of the House of Commons.

Speaker Milliken said:

To deny to members information concerning business that is about to come before the House, while at the same time providing such information to media that will likely be questioning members about that business, is a situation that the Chair cannot condone.

You, Mr. Speaker, said, on March 20 of this year:

...respecting members’ needs for timely and accurate information remains essential. There is no question that the work of members of Parliament is made more difficult without expeditious access to legislative information. Given this reality, there is a rightful expectation that those responsible for the information should do their utmost to ensure members’ access to it. Not respecting this expectation does a disservice to all. It is particularly disconcerting when the government gives priority to the media over the members of Parliament.

Given the facts presented and the clear precedents on this matter, I believe, Mr. Speaker, you should have no trouble in finding a prima facie question of privilege. In that event, I am prepared to move the appropriate motion.

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner's ReportRoutine Proceedings

April 17th, 2018 / 1 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Marco Mendicino Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know you have been listening throughout my presentation. I have been interposing my remarks to make the point that we are not going to allow this motion to hijack the government's agenda relative to the substantive premise of the opposition motion. What is relevant about that is that any Canadian listening to this debate would hear that notwithstanding the efforts to delay and filibuster, we have our priorities right on this side of the House. I am spending an appropriate and proportionate amount of time devoted in my presentation to the priorities that matter. That is relevant for the purposes of understanding why we reject this motion. Perhaps the Conservatives want us to allow ourselves to be hijacked and not talk about these things. However, we are not going to surrender to that kind of false logic. Nor should we.

Let me round out my highlights in my remaining moments. I will come back to the very express language of the opposition motion, then conclude my remarks.

The trouble with the rhetoric we have heard from some of the members of the Conservative family is that it stokes fear. It stokes anger and division among Canadians. We live in a very broad, diverse country, but those different experiences all get reconciled in the chamber. We find ways as members of Parliament to be the voice for our local communities. At the same time, we take into consideration how Canadians in different parts of the country, in different provinces and territories go about living their lives and pursue opportunities and prosperity to provide for their children and families. This is the place where we can accomplish that. This is the place where we can balance those competing interests and priorities. If we cannot do it here, we cannot do it anywhere.

Therefore, I call on my Conservative colleagues to debate as passionately when it comes to natural resources, but also to remember this is an institution that does deliver for Canadians.

The last highlight I want to mention is a priority that is not in the budget but is one that matters to me, and that is Bill C-75, which was tabled before our two non-sitting weeks. The bill proposes to make significant reforms to the criminal justice system by reducing delay and by ensuring we are reducing systemic barriers to victims so they can come forward, have their stories heard, and get the justice they deserve. We cannot get to that business if we see these kinds of dilatory motions brought forward today by the Conservatives.

My Conservative colleagues are cheering me. We should have the record reflect that some colleagues are putting up their hands in adoration and praise. They are enjoying some of my remarks. They may not enjoy what follows, but one takes credit where one can get it.

There is a fundamental flaw with the opposition motion. We just heard the House leader for the Conservative Party say that it has been vigorously debated, then some jockeying back and forth about why not just let debate collapse. The motion proposes to tell the Ethics Commissioner what his job is. Unlike other parties in the House, this government respects the independence of the officers of the chamber to do their jobs and fulfill their responsibilities in a way that ensures Canadians can have confidence in the high ethical standards they demand of their parliamentarians.

The motion purports to say what the fixes for the loopholes should be, and so on. We cannot prescribe expressly how the debate around ethical standards will evolve. We will listen to the Ethics Commissioner and obviously pay very close attention to whatever recommendations he or his office may put forward. In the meantime, as my Conservative colleagues will know very well, the Prime Minister and the government have accepted the findings of the report on numerous occasions. We have had well over 130 or 140 questions in question period regarding the report, the same question repeated over and over again.

To what end? Simply to waste time. Simply to obstruct and impede all of the significant priorities and the things that matter, which I have already discussed in my remarks. Canadians are going to judge us, but they are also going to judge the opposition Conservatives on how they have used their time in the chamber. What they will see is not constructive dialogue, not thoughtful debate on jobs and the economy, on public safety, on trade. They are going to see obstruction.

Accountability is a two-way street. Canadians are watching the Conservatives very closely. I encourage them to withdraw this motion and let us get back to the business that matters.

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

March 29th, 2018 / 12:10 p.m.
See context

Vancouver Granville B.C.

Liberal

Jody Wilson-Raybould LiberalMinister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, I would like to table, in both official languages, a charter statement with respect 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.

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

March 29th, 2018 / 12:10 p.m.
See context

Vancouver Granville B.C.

Liberal

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

moved for leave to introduce 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.

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