An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (conditions of release and conditional sentences)


Pierre Paul-Hus  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)


Defeated, as of Oct. 18, 2023

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-325.


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

This enactment amends the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to create a new offence for the breach of conditions of conditional release imposed in relation to certain serious offences and to require the reporting of those breaches to the appropriate authorities.
It also amends the Criminal Code to preclude persons convicted of certain offences from serving their sentence in the community.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.


Oct. 18, 2023 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-325, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (conditions of release and conditional sentences)

Opposition Motion—Auto TheftBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

February 6th, 2024 / 4:15 p.m.
See context


Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Madam Speaker, as I said in my speech, the Bloc Québécois members initially voted in favour of Bill C-5, but then realized that it was creating problems. They changed their minds and supported my bill, Bill C-325, and I thank them once again.

As far as resources are concerned, the Leader of the Opposition made our case in Montreal this morning. I was with him. We went to the port of Montreal to make a clear, costed announcement that really showed how we could invest properly in equipping the ports and the Canada Border Services Agency. One part of the announcement was about purchasing equipment to scan containers, while at the same time, saving money by eliminating wasteful spending on consultants and things like ArriveCAN. Basically, all these kinds of expenses are completely useless.

Opposition Motion—Auto TheftBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

February 6th, 2024 / 4 p.m.
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Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to our opposition motion and a very serious subject. Auto theft is a problem that is happening right now, and I do not know whether my colleagues are aware of this, but Canada has the highest rate of auto theft in the world. We are the number one exporter of stolen vehicles. Is that something we want to see? No, not at all.

It is important to understand that auto theft is a big deal. It has gone up by 34% in Canada since this Prime Minister and his government came to power. Even worse, it has gone up by 300% in Toronto. In Montreal and the Ottawa-Gatineau region, it has gone up by more than 100%. It is up by 120% in New Brunswick and 122% overall in Ontario. One of the reasons we are seeing these numbers is that inflation has driven up the price of cars. Compared to last year, cars are worth 20% more. They are very attractive items. Nowadays, we are no longer talking about cars that were worth $15,000 or $20,000 back in the day. They now cost $45,000 on average. The most desirable cars are in the $60,000 to $70,000 range. This means someone can steal a car and resell it for more than $100,000, even as much as $120,000, abroad. It is a very attractive market for organized crime and thieves.

This is causing stress. People are stressed right now. When they wake up in the morning or go to the grocery store, they wonder whether their car will be where they left it. Things cannot go on like this. Theft has a financial impact too. Last year, insurance companies paid out $1 billion to settle claims by the owners of stolen cars. What comes next? All car owners end up paying more for insurance. Insurance companies have to cover their losses, so they raise premiums. Once again, in addition to inflation and rising rates everywhere, insurance premiums go up because auto theft is out of control.

The solutions for controlling auto theft are not limitless. Some things are easy to do. The government is not being called out for nothing. Before I rose to speak, we heard from the Leader of the Opposition. For the past two days, he has been proposing concrete solutions to the problem. I would like to talk about the first two. First, there was Bill C‑5, which was enacted. We criticized it from the start. We made every possible and impossible representation to say that it does not work. Here is a concrete example: People are convicted, but instead of going to prison like they should, they get to stay at home. What do we think these people are doing? They think nothing of it; they are criminals. They unapologetically go out and commit more crimes.

The other issue with Bill C-5 was minimum sentences. The government stood up and the justice minister said that the Conservatives were wrong. No, we are not wrong. Auto theft currently carries a six-month sentence. What we are saying, and we are not going too far, is that if the same person has stolen three cars and has been charged with three thefts, they should get a minimum of three years in jail. I think this is just common sense. When we talk about common sense, this is a perfect example. People are looking at this and wondering whether it is normal for a criminal to continue stealing with impunity, with no penalty other than to be sent home to watch Netflix. We said before that there was a problem with Bill C-5, and we are seeing it now. We are calling on the government to fix it and rework what was done with Bill C-5.

Then there is Bill C-75, which was implemented by the Liberals and has led to people being arrested and released in the same day. At times, it happens that someone is arrested in the morning, their case is processed and, after a few hours, they are released and continue to commit crimes. It is a vicious cycle. We do not want to exaggerate; we know that very few people are doing that. However, here is a really incredible statistic. In Vancouver, 40 criminals were arrested 6,000 times in one year. That is 150 times each. It is the same 40 people. There is a small number of them, but they commit a lot of crimes. Basically, what we want to do is prevent these individuals from being released again and again and from committing crimes over and over. The repercussions of Bill C-75 are being felt everywhere.

The same thing applies to the auto theft market. These people know that there are not really any consequences under the laws that have been put in place by the Liberals. They will get arrested, go to the station to deal with a little charge and then they will be back on the street. It does not bother them. It is as though they are not afraid, they have no fear. They know they will be able to carry on doing whatever they feel like doing.

Let us talk about the technical aspect. Take, for example, the Port of Montreal. There are only five border agents to inspect the some 580,000 containers that leave the port each year, and they only have one scanner. I had the opportunity to visit the facilities there, and I saw that this big arch-shaped scanner does not always work and it is not really effective. Sooner or later, the port is going to need effective state-of-the-art equipment to get the job done right.

I want to come back to our Liberal friends. What have they being doing in the meantime, over the past several years? The Prime Minister wasted $15 million on management consultants for the CBSA. That was useless. He also spent $54 million on the failed ArriveCAN app, and the RCMP is even investigating that contract. What is more, the Liberals did not spend the $117 million that was approved by Parliament.

It is much like the support for Ukraine. Our colleagues like to talk to us about Ukraine. What is being done with the $406 million we voted on and was announced with great fanfare to buy anti-aircraft systems for Ukraine? Absolutely nothing has been done about it in a year. What is happening with the 83,000 decommissioned air-to-surface missiles that are warehoused in Manitoba? As Conservatives, we said they need to be given to Ukraine. Ukraine sent a letter asking for them. We said we needed to send them. This is war, it is urgent, but, no, they are asleep across the way. That is another file.

The fact is that the Liberals are good at making accusations, but today we are here to work on things that are happening here, in Canada, things for which immediate action is needed and expected.

What we are asking for is not complicated. As I said earlier, there is the legislation stemming from Bill C‑5. There is a way to fix at least that part of that law, which actually covers many types of crimes. I introduced Bill C‑325, which would fix the problems in that law. Obviously, it was not accepted by the Liberals or the NDP. I thank my friends in the Bloc Québécois who understood me and supported me on this.

What we are asking for today has to do specifically with auto theft. There is a way to amend the law to deter crime. First, we need to actually incarcerate criminals. More importantly, we need to discourage those who are considering becoming car thieves. Those are some of the things that we need to do. People will see that and think to themselves that it is better not to get involved in auto theft. I was saying earlier that the vehicles are worth tens of thousands of dollars. Auto theft benefits organized crime and those on the other side of the ocean who buy the vehicles, but the thieves themselves are not paid very well, even though they are the ones who are taking all the risks. If we were to target them, to make young people understand that it is not a good idea to enter a life of crime because they will end up in prison, then that would be more effective than what is currently being done.

The Conservatives get it. The Liberals did not do it, but when we take power, we are going to remove the right to house arrest. There will be no more Netflix sentences.

We are going to create a new aggravating circumstance when the offence of motor vehicle theft is committed for the benefit of organized crime. This is important, because we must stop encouraging organized crime, and that starts with tackling the root cause.

We will repeal the arrest and release rules in Bill C-75 to ensure that repeat offenders are jailed and not released on bail.

We will fire the useless management consultants at CBSA and take that money to properly equip federal ports. We will invest in state-of-the-art X-ray equipment to enable rapid scanning of containers at our major ports in Vancouver, Montreal, Prince Rupert and Halifax.

A total of 24 scanners will be purchased. Canada's four largest ports have a combined total of 12 terminals that handle container shipping. All of these terminals allow for goods to be transported by truck and rail, and each requires its own scanner and operator. The total cost for the 24 scanners is $55 million, with an ongoing service agreement of $300,000 per scanner, or $7.2 million per year.

Let us talk about spending. Two days ago, our leader presented very clear proposals. He demonstrated how a Conservative government might make “investments”, as the Liberals like to say. Well, it takes money to do that. We have solutions for finding wasteful spending. We will be able to recover that money and invest it in immediate needs to ensure the safety of Canadians and put an end to auto theft and the too-easy shipping of stolen cars to the rest of the world.

Corrections and Conditional Release ActPrivate Members' Business

November 28th, 2023 / 5:25 p.m.
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Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

moved that Bill C‑351, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (maximum security offenders), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Madam Speaker, I am very happy to rise in the House to speak to the private member's bill I introduced on September 18.

Bill C‑351 amends the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to require that inmates who have been found to be dangerous offenders or convicted of more than one first degree murder be assigned a security classification of maximum and confined in a maximum security penitentiary or area in a penitentiary.

I would like to begin by thanking my colleague from Niagara Falls, who introduced a similar bill last June. He is a strong advocate for victims' rights who worked long and hard to deliver the first version of this bill.

This bill differs from the previous one in one respect. It states that the act will come into force in the third month after the month in which it receives royal assent. This change was made to ensure that the bill is brought into force as soon as possible once passed.

No victim's family should ever again have to endure the trauma of seeing the murderer of a child, a parent, a brother or a sister. However, that is what happened to two families this year, which is what gave rise to this bill.

Everyone has heard of Paul Bernardo, the infamous rapist and serial killer. I will spare my colleagues the details of his absolutely horrific crimes, but he kidnapped, tortured and killed 15-year-old Kristen French and 14-year-old Leslie Mahaffy in the early 1990s near St. Catharines, Ontario. He also committed roughly 40 rapes and sexual assaults. He is a real monster.

On September 1, 1995, he was sentenced to life in prison and declared a dangerous offender. In our justice system, this means that he must serve a minimum of 25 years before he can apply for parole. He has applied twice since 2018. Fortunately, both applications were rejected by the Parole Board of Canada.

Donna French, Kristen's mother, addressed her daughter's killer. She quite rightly described their pain as a life sentence. She said that that is what they got and that a dark cloud always haunts them. She said a psychopath like him should never get out of prison.

This dangerous murderer deserves every day he spends behind bars, and that is where he needs to stay forever. Bernardo had been serving his sentence in a maximum security prison in Kingston since 1995, and that is where he should have stayed until the end of his days.

However, in June 2023, we were shocked to learn that Bernardo had been transferred from the maximum security prison in Kingston to La Macaza, a medium-security prison near Labelle in the Laurentians in Quebec. The day his transfer was announced, a huge shock wave rippled across the entire country, as people relived the horrific events that occurred 30 years before. The prison transfer was done on the sly. We found out about it through an announcement made by the lawyer of the victims' families. What is more, the families were informed of the transfer only the day of. Imagine the trauma that this caused for the families who had to relive this unspeakable tragedy.

According to the Correctional Service of Canada, that situation was in line with protocol. Okay, but the transfer in and of itself should never have happened. The families of the two victims were right to condemn this situation. The families' lawyer said that the victims' families had asked that Bernardo's transfer be cancelled. The lawyer also expressed concerns about how the federal correctional service had informed the victims' families of the controversial decision. However, months later, the transfer has not been cancelled. Worse still, the public safety minister at the time, the member for Eglinton—Lawrence, feigned surprise and indignation. He claimed to have been informed only the next day. Later, it was revealed that he had been informed months earlier. Email exchanges were obtained by the Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

They showed that the Correctional Service of Canada had notified the minister's office on March 2, 2023, of the possibility of the serial killer being transferred. Cabinet was informed in May, after a transfer date had been set. We are used to cover-ups with this government, but trying to hide the truth about something so troubling is beyond the pale.

It was discovered that the associate deputy minister of public safety had been notified about the transfer by the commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada three days before it happened. The commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada told them that the federal Public Safety Department, the minister's office, the Privy Council Office and the Prime Minister's Office “have been advised” and that “we have media lines ready”.

In a tweet posted the day after the transfer, however, the minister described CSC's decision as “shocking and incomprehensible”. After being confronted with these facts, which were embarrassing to say the least, the minister blamed his staff for keeping him in the dark. It is pure incompetence at every level. For all his tangled explanations, the problem remained. Bernardo was moved to a medium-security prison, enjoying privileges that such a sadistic murderer should never be entitled to.

We on the Conservative side questioned the minister and asked him to cancel the transfer, as requested by the victims' families. The minister simply replied that there was nothing he could do, that the Correctional Service of Canada is independent. That is another independent entity. He seemed to forget that, as a minister, he had powers. He had the power to issue instructions to Canadian prison officials and make regulations concerning the incarceration of prisoners.

As usual, he and the Prime Minister refused to accept any responsibility. This is yet another example of incompetence. It is not surprising that the MP for Eglinton—Lawrence is no longer a minister. That is a very good thing. Not only do the Prime Minister and his cabinet say there was nothing they could do, but they have taken steps to make it easier to transfer dangerous criminals.

In 2019, this government passed Bill C-83, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another act. Once it was passed, the bill ensured that prisons would be chosen based on the least restrictive environment possible for the inmate. Victims are not part of the equation. Bill C‑83 reversed a policy introduced by the previous Conservative government that imposed stricter standards for dangerous offenders. The Correctional Service of Canada used this policy to try to justify transfers.

The lax system introduced by the Liberals allows nonsensical transfers like this. I read a chilling statistic. In Canada, as we speak, 58 inmates who have been declared dangerous offenders are currently in minimum-security, not even medium-security, prisons. It beggars belief. That is the legacy of eight years of this Liberal government: a lax justice and correctional system that allows this kind of aberration. The government is doing everything it can to accommodate criminals, but nothing for victims. It should be the other way around. This situation is deplorable, and it has to change.

We, the Conservatives, stepped up our efforts to try to have the decision reversed. I have to commend my colleague from Niagara Falls for all of the work that he did on this file. The murders and many assaults were committed in cities near his community. On June 14, he sought the unanimous consent of the House to move the following motion:

...that the House call for the immediate return of vile serial killer and rapist Paul Bernardo to a maximum security prison, that all court-ordered dangerous offenders and mass murderers be permanently assigned a maximum security classification, that the least-restrictive-environment standard be repealed and that the language of necessary restrictions that the previous Conservative government put in place be restored.

Unfortunately, the motion was rejected.

My colleague supported the cities of Thorold and St. Catharines when they wrote to the government expressing their grave concerns about Bernardo's transfer and demanding that he be sent back to a maximum-security prison. These letters were sent to the Prime Minister, his public safety minister at the time, and local Liberal MPs, but they fell on deaf ears. The government continued to refuse to use its power to require that mass murderers serve their entire sentence in maximum-security prisons.

He refused to take measures to resolve the problem created by his government. Worse yet, the member for St. Catharines accused those who were offering solutions and those who were trying to convey the families' concerns and suffering of playing politics. As usual, the Liberal government divides and blames instead of taking responsibility and making changes to fix the problems it created.

Another initiative that my colleague took was to propose a study at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security on October 5 to fully investigate Bernardo's transfer. The Bloc Québécois and the NDP supported the government and shut down the whole thing. Apparently, the trauma caused by the transfer did not matter all that much to them. How typical of this government to systematically side with criminals.

Before I conclude, I have two recent examples that show how lax this government is and how it is ignoring victims. These are two examples of cases where the Conservative Party intervened to cancel out this government's reckless decisions. In March, my colleague, the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles and political lieutenant for Quebec, introduced Bill C-325, which sought to significantly reform the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, in order to make our streets safe again.

This bill would repeal certain elements of Bill C-5, which was passed by the Liberals last fall, and would put an end to the alarming number of convicted violent criminals and sex offenders serving their sentences at home. It is unthinkable that sex offenders and other violent criminals would be released to serve their sentences in the comfort of their living rooms, while their victims and peace-loving neighbours live in fear. This is a common-sense solution from my colleague, whom I would like to commend for his hard work on behalf of victims.

Despite all our efforts, this government remained unmoved by the suffering and trauma that the families of victims went through a second time as a result of this unacceptable transfer. On this side of the House, we stand with victims, not criminals. That is why I introduced the bill we are debating today. The Liberals made a mistake, but we, the Conservatives, will correct course. We will put common sense back into our justice and correctional system.

I hope that my colleagues in the other parties will listen to reason and support victims by voting with us in favour of this bill.

Corrections and Conditional Release ActPrivate Members' Business

October 18th, 2023 / 5:15 p.m.
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Leah Taylor Roy Liberal Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I would like to change my vote on Bill C-325 from yea to nay.

The House resumed from October 16 consideration of the motion that Bill C‑325, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (conditions of release and conditional sentences), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

October 16th, 2023 / 11:50 a.m.
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Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Madam Speaker, the debates on Bill C‑325, which I introduced last spring, are drawing to a close today.

I am pleased to see that, following the tragic events that have taken place and the serious cases brought to our attention, the Bloc Québécois has finally decided to support Bill C‑325, even though it voted in favour of Bill C‑5 at the time. I agree that amendments to the bill in committee are necessary. In fact, committees are specifically mandated to improve bills and make them fairer for all Canadians. Unfortunately, the Liberals and their NDP colleagues are clinging to a short-sighted position that makes no sense.

I have done my job with Bill C-325. Moreover, all the parties in Quebec's National Assembly—including the more right-wing parties, the centrist parties and the left-wing parties like Québec solidaire—have asked that Bill C-5 be amended because it just does not work. No one in the House would characterize the Bloc as a right-wing party. Bloc members are not nasty right wingers; they lean more to the left than to the right. However, they thought things through, saw that there is a problem and acknowledged that changes need to be made. That is why they are willing to help me move Bill C-325 forward. However, the Liberals and NDP are stubborn. There is nothing we can do.

During debate, we talked a lot about Marylène Levesque's murder. At the time, I was the one who moved the motion in the House that launched the investigation by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, of which I was a member. We investigated everything surrounding Marylène's murder, the work of the Parole Board of Canada and the flaws in how the entire situation was managed.

With Bill C-325, I am proposing common-sense improvements. For example, right now, there are no consequences for offenders who fail to abide by the conditions of their release when on parole for serious crimes. When we ask people on the street about this, they say that people who do not abide by the conditions of their release should be arrested, but that consequence does not exist. Everyone thinks it only natural to create a new offence to cover such situations. That is just common sense, and it is what I am proposing in Bill C-325.

Some are saying that professionals found that the law put in place by Bill C-5 was good. I took the time to meet with many groups, and I can say that police officers are calling for improvements. I am thinking, in particular, of the Canadian Police Association, the Fraternité des policiers et policières de Montréal and the Fraternité des policiers et policières de la Ville de Québec.

Victims groups are also calling for improvements. Here, I am thinking of REAL Women of Canada, Fédération des maisons d'hébergement pour femmes, Maison des guerrières, Communauté de citoyens en action contre les criminels violents and the Murdered or Missing Persons' Families Association. No one can say that these are nasty right-wing groups that just want tough laws. These are groups of people who represent victims. When I showed them my bill, they told me that it was just common sense and that that is what needed to be done. Victims are afraid because offenders on parole do not abide by the conditions of their release and people are not incarcerated, as they should be. Bill C-325 seeks to resolve this problem, and I will never understand why the Liberals and the NDP do not get that.

From what I have heard in the first hour of debate today, the rhetoric has changed a bit. What I understand is that people here cannot allow a Conservative bill to go any further. That is what I understood, because people do not want to support it. I thank the Bloc Québécois for agreeing to go further. When we can agree on issues everyone benefits, and I am grateful to the Bloc Québécois for doing that today.

I also understand that Canadians are fed up with this government, because for the past eight years we have seen the result: a 32% increase in violent crime. When Bill C‑5 was introduced, criminals thanked the government, telling themselves that they could continue to commit crimes without fear of going to prison, thanks to the Liberals who protected them. Is this the justice we expect to have in Canada? Do the victims of these criminals expect something else from a federal government? Yes.

There is still time for members to change their minds, since the vote will take place on Wednesday. That leaves two days, or 48 hours. I urge my colleagues to think about Canadians, about people who are afraid, and to stop thinking that the goal is simply to create tough measures. As I said, the Bloc Québécois supports us, and the bill can be amended. I see no problem with that. The goal is to protect people, and that is what I wanted to do with Bill C-325. I hope the two parties opposite will change their minds by Wednesday afternoon.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

October 16th, 2023 / 11:45 a.m.
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Luc Desilets Bloc Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Madam Speaker, I address the House today as an MP, but also as a trained criminologist. We are talking about Bill C‑325, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. I will skip ahead and confirm that the Bloc Québécois and I, obviously, will vote in favour of Bill C‑325 so it can be studied in parliamentary committee.

Now, let us have a closer look at the bill.

As currently written, the bill contains only three provisions, but it will still amend two extremely important laws. We are not talking about minor laws here, but about the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. I would say that we need to be careful. I always find it worrisome to base a bill that would have such a major impact on our criminal justice system on just one particular case. Obviously, we need to avoid that dangerous pitfall. I am not trying to minimize the tragic death of 23-year-old Marylène Levesque, who was murdered by Eustachio Gallese while he was out on day parole for the October 2004 murder of his wife. What happened to Marylène Levesque is terrible and unfair. It never should have happened. I think we all agree on that. There is no need to discuss it.

Bill C‑325, which was introduced by the Conservatives, would create a new offence for the breach of conditions of conditional release imposed in relation to certain serious offences, with a maximum sentence of two years or at least punishable on summary conviction. This bill would also amend the Criminal Code to preclude persons convicted of certain offences from serving their sentence in the community. Finally, this bill would also require the reporting of such breaches to the appropriate authorities. Those are good things.

The Bloc Québécois generally supports this bill and would like to see it studied in detail and improved in committee. Let me explain why. The Conservatives think that this bill will fill the gaps resulting from the passage of Bill C-5, which allows offenders who commit certain crimes to serve their sentences in the community. However, that is not the whole truth. Some details have been left out. In our society, judges have the discretion to sentence offenders to serve their sentences in the community. Contrary to what the Conservatives would have us believe, judges do take their jobs very seriously. They make their decisions thoughtfully and meticulously, taking a multitude of factors into account. Furthermore, the Parole Board of Canada has the power to revoke parole at any time, and its decisions are not political. The Parole Board is entirely independent.

In Mr. Gallese's case, his release conditions had been breached on several occasions prior to Ms. Levesque's murder, and unfortunately, his parole officer knew that. Worse still, we later learned that she allegedly encouraged him to visit sexual massage parlours, which, I am sure everyone would agree, is totally unacceptable. The Parole Board of Canada could have and should have revoked Mr. Gallese's parole long before this tragedy.

How did we get here? Should we amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act based almost entirely on the circumstances surrounding the murder of Marylène Levesque, as the Conservative Party is eager to do? Obviously, I do not think so. Doing so could prove perilous for our justice system.

In short, Bill C‑325 is commendable but flawed in several respects, for example when it comes to the offences set out in subclause 2(2) that would prevent offenders from serving their sentences in the community.

The range of listed offences is far too broad and is worth scrutinizing and debating in committee, as is paragraph 742.1(c), which seeks to make it impossible to serve a sentence in the community for any offence that carries a maximum sentence of 14 years or more, including altering a firearm magazine.

The issue is not whether the legislation resulting from Bill C‑5 is flawed, because it is, indeed. However, the solutions in Bill C‑325 are not entirely appropriate and may well call into question the integrity of our judges.

The Conservatives' presentation on Bill C‑325 specifically refers to the case of Eustachio Gallese and Marylène Levesque. As a criminologist, I have a lot of problems with this. We do not have the luxury of quickly pushing through words and clauses that have the power to upend the lives of thousands of people.

When we are responsible for the public's safety and well-being, our decisions should be based on verified, empirical data and on as many cases as possible, not on individual cases.

What about all the other inmates with release conditions similar to those of Mr. Gallese who will never commit another crime? Let us consider that very large group of inmates.

Who are we to dictate how they will serve their sentences based solely on one case, on one individual? That is not what our justice system is based on.

Quebeckers and Canadians obviously deserve to have peace of mind, to feel safe as they go about their daily lives. They also deserve to be treated equally in the eyes of law. That is why I urge my esteemed colleagues to vote in favour of Bill C‑325, so that it can be carefully studied at committee and no comma, no inference, no legislative gap will be left to chance. The consequences would simply be too dire.

I would also like to take this opportunity to inform the House that my colleague, the member for Rivière-du-Nord, will soon be introducing a bill to once and for all close the loopholes in the legislation resulting from Bill C‑5.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

October 16th, 2023 / 11:35 a.m.
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Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill C-325, an act to amend the Criminal Code with respect to the conditional release system. This is the private member's bill of my friend and colleague, the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, and I am happy to support it for the few reasons I will detail in these remarks.

The main reason is that our criminal justice system needs a serious overhaul to prevent violent offenders from committing further violent crimes, and this bill would work to combat that societal harm. One of our Conservative Party pillars is to bring home safe streets. To do this, we need to take serious action to reverse the precipitous rise in violent crime that has transpired over the last eight years with the Liberal government.

Data from Statistics Canada in August indicated that the national homicide rate has risen for the fourth consecutive year and is now at its highest level since 1992. This is largely due to gang violence. Violent crime is up for the eighth year in a row. The per capita victims of violent crime have increased 60% since 2013. Fraud is twice as prevalent as it was 10 years ago, and extortion is five times higher. It is a country-wide problem, not restricted just to our biggest cities. As an example, an article from the National Post from the past summer stated, “Reports from Newfoundland—which experienced one of the steepest rises in crime last year—reveal a growing sense of fear and abandonment among those living in St. John’s downtown core.” Our communities feel less safe. Crime, chaos, drugs and disorder are common, and the Liberal government is responsible for making the situation worse.

The common denominator here is the Prime Minister and his lenient approach to violent crime. The measures to reverse this trend in Bill C-48, which the House passed unanimously on September 18, were but a start to the serious overhaul necessary to create real change, to borrow a phrase from the Prime Minister, who used it eight years ago.

Bill C-48 does not go far enough to reverse the damage that the Liberals have done with their catch-and-release laws that let repeat offenders back onto our streets to cause more crime and chaos. It started with Bill C-75 and continued with Bill C-5, which had a soft-on-crime approach. That is why I am here to support Bill C-325, as it would take further measures to combat the violent crime waves.

Bill C-325's summary states:

This enactment amends the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to create a new offence for the breach of conditions of conditional release imposed in relation to certain serious offences and to require the reporting of those breaches to the appropriate authorities.

It also amends the Criminal Code to preclude persons convicted of certain offences from serving their sentence in the community.

Namely, Bill C-325 would strengthen the conditional release regime by creating a breach-of-condition offence in the Criminal Code at section 145, for breaches of condition on parole or statutory release. It would be an indictable offence and would be liable to imprisonment for a maximum of two years, or an offence punishable on summary conviction.

The bill would also amend the 1992 Corrections and Conditional Release Act to require parole supervisors to report breaches of conditions. It states that if a breach exists, parole supervisors must inform the Parole Board of Canada, the Attorney General and appropriate officials of the breach and the circumstances surrounding it. It is currently not the case that probation officers are required to report breached conditions. This provision would go a long way in reducing recidivism among violent criminals.

Bill C-325 would also restore the former version of section 742.1 of the Criminal Code, which was repealed in 2022 by the Liberals' Bill C-5. This would reintroduce a list of serious offences for which a shorter sentence of less than two years cannot be served in the community via house arrest. This includes kidnapping, sexual assault and some firearms offences. Bill C-5 should never have been allowed to pass, as it puts communities at risk with violent offenders serving sentences for serious crimes in the comfort of their own homes while watching Netflix. This includes, for example, drug traffickers serving their sentences at home. How convenient is that? This also includes sexual assault offenders who are serving their sentences in their homes in the communities where they have victimized and can now revictimize.

To avoid an argument from my opponents off the bat, I will say that this bill would not bring out stronger sentences or raise rates of incarceration for the sake of it. Breaches of conditions imposed during conditional release, which is after sentencing, are often committed by a minority of offenders. However, when parole conditions are breached, it can be frustrating and damaging to the victims of the crimes committed, not to mention to the community at large in which they live.

The Canadian Police Association said that it is important to effectively target repeat offenders because, as frontline law enforcement officers know all too well, a defining reality of our justice system is that a disproportionately small number of offenders are responsible for a disproportionately large number of offences. In fact, our leader, the member for Carleton, often cites the example of Vancouver, where 40 criminals were arrested a total of 6,000 times in a year.

It is important to note as well that offenders designated as long-term offenders would not be covered in this bill. They are already covered by breach-of-condition language in the Criminal Code.

We need this bill because of offenders like Myles Sanderson. He had been granted statutory release in August 2021, after serving a five-year sentence for assault, robbery, mischief and making threats. He had 59 previous convictions, one of which included assaulting a police officer. He had been charged for 125 crimes, with 47 cases filed against him in the province's criminal courts. He violated his parole conditions 28 times. In February 2022, following a hearing, the Parole Board did not revoke his statutory release despite these violations. He stopped meeting with his case worker in May 2022, which led the police to look for him. Unfortunately, they did not find him before he and his brother murdered 11 people and injured 18 others in a mass stabbing spree on the James Smith Cree Nation and in Weldon, Saskatchewan in September 2022. This horrific tragedy broke the heart of the nation and devastated these communities. It would have been utterly preventable had Bill C-325 been in place and Sanderson had been indicted for violating the conditions of his parole.

While it is important to minimize the potential harm to our communities, we must still respect the rights of those involved. The law currently provides that federal offenders sentenced to a fixed term of imprisonment be released under supervision when they have served two-thirds of their sentence. Statutory release is a statutory right and not within the Parole Board of Canada's decision-making authority. The conditions on parole that may be violated include a prohibition on communicating with a person, often a victim; being in a specific place; observing a curfew; not possessing a weapon; and not drinking alcohol, among others that may apply to the specific case at hand. Sanderson's parole conditions included a ban on weapons and a ban on alcohol and drugs. As records indicate, he had a history of drug use since the age of 14 and a history of rage and violence against his partner.

Tragedies like this can be prevented. Our justice system should not allow violent offenders to serve their sentences at home. This view is shared by several organizations, all of which support Bill C-325. The president of the Canadian Police Association, the Fraternité des policiers et policières de Montréal, the founder of Montreal's Maison des guerrières, the Fédération des maisons d'hébergement pour femmes, the Murdered or Missing Persons' Families' Association, the Communauté de citoyens et citoyennes en action contre les criminels violents and others have all expressed their support for Bill C-325. Tom Stamatakis, president of the CPA, says, “The Canadian Police Association has long advocated for statutory consequences for offenders who commit new offences while on conditional release, and this proposed legislation is a common-sense solution that effectively targets those very specific offenders.”

The bottom line is that we absolutely need to be doing more to protect our communities and increase public safety. This is not an issue of partisanship, but a shared need for action on a common goal: a safer and better Canada. We were elected here to uphold the principles of peace, order and good government, but we cannot claim that we are doing so if Canadians do not feel safe in their homes and communities. We have a responsibility to our constituents and the regions we serve. They deserve to be safe and protected. We need to bring home safe streets, and this bill would be an excellent stepping stone on the way to doing so.

I hope all my colleagues share this goal of increased public safety and that they vote to support Bill C-325 on its way to committee.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-325, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (conditions of release and conditional sentences), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

October 16th, 2023 / 11:25 a.m.
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Brenda Shanahan Liberal Châteauguay—Lacolle, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity today to speak today to private member's Bill C‑325, and especially to hear from colleagues who agree with me in opposing this bill. I had the pleasure of attending some of the meetings of the Standing Committee on Justice on Bill C‑5, and I heard some arguments there that are very important for understanding what is going on here.

Bill C-325 was introduced by the member for Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles.

The sponsor said that the purpose of the bill is to strengthen the parole system and ensure that violent offenders can never receive a conditional sentence.

I cannot support Bill C-325. It would undo some of the important work of Bill C-5, which I was proud to support. The objective of Bill C-5 was to amend sentencing laws that exacerbated underlying social, economic, institutional and historical disadvantages, which not only contributed to systemic inequalities in the criminal justice system, but also made Canadians less safe. It was intended to address the reality that increased justice system involvement, including through overreliance on incarceration of low-risk offenders, can increase the risk of recidivism and undermine the reintegration of offenders, especially among indigenous people, Black persons and members of marginalized or racialized communities, who already experience incarceration at higher rates.

Issues of systemic racism and discrimination in Canada's criminal justice system are real. They have been confirmed by commissions of inquiry such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the Commission on Systemic Racism in the Ontario Criminal Justice System.

A higher number of indigenous offenders are sentenced to custody than non-indigenous offenders. In 2017-18, indigenous people accounted for 30% of adult admissions to provincial or territorial custody and 29% to federal custody, while representing 4% of the adult population. Reinstituting measures to constrain judicial discretion, as proposed by Bill C-325, would reverse reforms made to counter systemic discrimination. Mandatory sentencing policies such as restrictions on the ability to impose conditional sentences have worsened Canada's overrepresentation problem by limiting the circumstances where a judge can exercise restraint in the use of imprisonment.

Some hon. members, including the bill's sponsor, may highlight outlier cases to justify the reforms proposed in Bill C-325. It is important to understand that the current framework is intended to allow conditional sentence orders only for offenders facing short terms of imprisonment and only where it is determined that serving their sentence in the community does not pose a risk to public safety. When imposed, conditional sentences include strict conditions, such as non-contact orders with victims, house arrest and mandatory counselling or treatment for substance abuse. Judges are the best actors to decide on punishments that are appropriate to crimes, not my Conservative colleagues.

In 2021, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security undertook a study of the circumstances that led to the tragic murder of a young woman by an offender on day parole. None of the recommendations formulated by that committee proposed the creation of an offence like in Bill C-325. Rather, the five recommendations related to the promotion of information sharing, better case management and additional resources for effective community supervision and improved training.

Tough-on-crime approaches, including restrictions on judicial discretion and the availability of conditional sentencing orders, made our criminal justice system less effective. Bill C-325 would send many lower-risk and first-time offenders, including a disproportionate number of indigenous people and Black persons, to prison without deterring crime or helping to keep our communities safe.

Bill C-325 wants to pull us back in the wrong direction by needlessly increasing the use of imprisonment for offenders deserving of less than two years' imprisonment and by criminalizing non-criminal behaviours, like breaching a curfew. Creating a new offence for breaching conditional release flies in the face of conscious efforts made by Parliament to reduce delays by ensuring that the valuable time of judges and court resources is not being spent on dealing with the administration of justice offences, such as a failure to comply with a court order or terms of a conditional release.

This bill would increase contact with law enforcement and the stigma associated with criminal justice system contact, which would undermine offender reintegration. It would interrupt support and reintegration services and have adverse resource implications, without added public safety benefits. Bill C-325 rejects advice from experts. We need policies that will keep Canadians safe while prioritizing long-term community prosperity.

It has been established that greater justice system involvement can increase the risk of recidivism and undermine reintegration of offenders, especially among indigenous people, members of marginalized or racialized communities, and individuals suffering from mental illness, because those groups already experience incarceration at higher rates.

The government is determined to prevent violent crime, which includes gender-based violence and all forms of sexual violence, through investments and concerted efforts. This is why, in June 2017, we announced It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence. Following its launch, the Government of Canada worked with provincial and territorial partners to develop the national action plan to end gender-based violence.

Budget 2021 announced over $600 million in additional funding to build on work addressing gender-based violence in Canada. Of this amount, Justice Canada was allocated $112 million over five years for initiatives that work to assist victims and survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence in making informed decisions about their particular circumstances, to reduce retraumatization, to increase confidence in the justice system's response to gender-based violence and to improve support and access to justice.

The reforms included in Bill C‑325 would also go against the key pillars of the federal framework to reduce recidivism, which focuses on factors such as housing, education, employment, health and positive support networks. These pillars help offenders meet the objectives of rehabilitation and reintegration instead of increasing the use of imprisonment for low-risk offenders.

It is imperative that we do not scale back important reforms intended to root out systemic racism and to ensure a more effective justice system for all.

For all these reasons, I would urge all the hon. members to oppose Bill C-325.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

October 16th, 2023 / 11:15 a.m.
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Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this debate on Bill C-325 today, and I am going to be brutally honest: It is disappointing to see the Conservatives bring forward a private member's bill that builds on their campaign to exploit public fears about crime and public safety by emphasizing tragic incidents and tragic impacts on victims and continuing to ignore the evidence about what actually works in criminal justice. Of course, members of the House will know that I spent 20 years working in the criminal justice field before I came here. We know what reduces crime and what improves public safety, but the Conservatives seem to have no interest in any of those measures.

They repeatedly refer to the opinions of victims. I will, of course, agree with them that some victims are looking for harsh punishment for the perpetrators of crimes, but it is not all victims. The one thing that all victims of crime are looking for is that what happened to them does not happen to anyone else. If we look at all the scientific studies and academic studies of victims, we see that this is the one thing that all victims share in common. This means that instead of harsher measures, we need more effective measures to make sure that we do not have additional victims of crime in the future.

The main impact of Bill C-325 is to undo the reforms that were made in Bill C-5. Those were aimed at squarely attacking the problem of high rates of incarceration among indigenous and racialized people, those living in poverty and those living with mental health and addiction issues in Canadian prisons. The overincarceration of marginalized Canadians is not only unjust but also ineffective at improving public safety. Even short periods of incarceration cause major disruptions in people's lives when it comes to loss of employment, loss of housing, loss of custody of children and stigma, all of which make involvement in anti-social and criminal behaviour more likely in the future, not less likely.

The New Democrats have always supported measures that will be effective in improving public safety. This was true when we were talking about bail reform, which, again, is not the subject of Bill C-325, even though people would be surprised to find that out when listening to some of the Conservative rhetoric around it. We supported adding a reverse onus for bail in crimes involving handguns. We supported making community-based bail supervision programs more widely available in all communities, including in rural, remote and northern communities.

Community-based bail supervision will require upfront expenditures, and we have been calling on the Liberals to fund those programs. The John Howard Society runs three of those programs now in Ontario, and they have a 90% success rate. What does that 90% success rate mean? It means 90% of people in community-based bail supervision programs showed up in court when they were supposed to, and 90% did not reoffend in the period before they appeared in court. Why is that the case? It is because they had support and supervision. This is in the bill the Conservatives voted for, and now the Liberals need to come forward with the funding.

Community-based bail supervision programs are not the subject of Bill C-325, but I have to address them because Conservatives continue to act like they are. They save money in the long run because they are far cheaper: Putting people into community-based bail supervision programs is one-tenth the cost of putting them in incarceration. The problem in our federal system is that the federal government would bear the costs upfront of starting these programs, while the provinces would benefit from the savings in provincial correction systems.

Again, Bill C-325 is trying to undo the reforms that were in Bill C-5. What Bill C-5 did was to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for all drug offences and for certain tobacco and firearms offences, none of which are classified as violent crimes in the Criminal Code. Also, Bill C-5 widened the sentencing options available to judges by allowing them to use diversion programs and house arrest as penalties for a wider number of crimes. Why is this important? It is because there are direct victims of crime, but there are also the families of the perpetrators of crime. What we are talking about there is often spouses and children. The importance of diversion programs and house arrest means that oftentimes families are not deprived of the sole income earner in the family, or they are not deprived of the person who can provide supervision for children.

By using diversion programs and house arrest in additional offences, we can help keep families together and prevent crime in the future by keeping people's ties to the community and the wider family active and alive. This is particularly important in rural, remote and northern communities, where the sentence to incarceration means not only serving time in an institution but serving it in an institution many hundreds of kilometres away from the family and supports people need to prevent them from falling back into the problems that caused them to end up as convicted criminals.

According to the Conservatives' press release, Bill C-325 would “put a stop to the alarming number of convicted violent criminals and sex offenders who are serving their sentences in their homes.” This assertion is false. Even with the reforms in Bill C-5, judges are not allowed to sentence those who present any kind of risk to the public to serve sentences in the community. The statement that the many people who are convicted of the long list of offences the Conservatives like to cite are getting house arrest is not true. Judges are not allowed to grant diversion programs and sentences served in the community to those who present a risk to the public. That is very clear in our systems.

The Conservatives also claim that Bill C-325 would go after offenders who repeatedly violate conditional release orders. It is important to note that the provisions in Bill C-325 are about parole violations, not conditional release orders. There is nothing about bail conditions in this bill despite the Conservatives continually mixing the rhetoric about catch-and-release bail provisions with the provisions of Bill C-325. What Bill C-325 would do is make all parole violations a new criminal offence and require parole officers to report all parole violations, no matter how minor, to the police and the Parole Board. This would only result in the early termination of parole.

What does that mean? People say it is a good idea because people broke the rules and their parole should be revoked. With the revocation of parole, people end up back in institutions, and at the end of their sentences, they go into the community unsupervised. Therefore, by ending parole early, we end the period during which we supervise people's behaviour, which is to make sure they present less of a threat to the public, and let them out at the end of a sentence with no incentive to complete any of the rehabilitation programs, any of the mental health and addiction programs or any of the things that would keep them from being further involved in criminal activity.

Let me conclude my remarks today by reminding people that what we need to do is support measures that are effective at reducing crime and reducing the number of victims in the future. Bill C-325 would do nothing to advance those goals and instead would further contribute to the overincarceration of racialized and indigenous people and those living in poverty in this country. The New Democrats were proud to support Bill C-5 to try to make sure that we do what is effective when fighting crime and reducing the number of victims in this country.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

October 16th, 2023 / 11:05 a.m.
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Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Madam Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the Bloc Québécois to speak to Bill C‑325. I would like to say from the outset that we will be voting in favour of the bill so that it can be studied in committee. I am confident that my colleague from Rivière-du-Nord will make a constructive contribution. I will begin my speech with a summary of the bill. I will then go over Quebec's requests. Lastly, I will briefly go over some highly publicized cases, such as the one involving Marylène Levesque.

First, the bill would create a new offence for the breach of conditions of conditional release for certain serious offences with a maximum sentence of two years, or at least in relation to a summary conviction. It would require the reporting of the breach of conditions to the authorities, and it would amend the Criminal Code to preclude persons convicted of certain offences from serving their sentence in the community.

The reality is that judges have the discretion to impose a community-based sentence, but are not obligated to do so. Judges must weigh a series of factors before handing down a sentence. Crown prosecutors could also agree with the defence on a community-based sentence if they felt that the circumstances warranted it.

The bill is short. It contains only three clauses and amends two acts, namely the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

Clause 1 of Bill C‑325 adds a subsection to section 145 of the Criminal Code. It adds a criminal offence after subsection 5 for the breach of conditions of conditional release; for the breach of a condition of parole; and for breach of a condition of a release on reconnaissance. As mentioned in Bill C‑325, schedules I and II of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act include a wide range of offences, from child pornography to attempted murder. The intention is to tighten up the legislation for breaches of conditions of parole or statutory release, which is the almost automatic release after completion of two-thirds of a sentence. However, there is no evidence that Bill C‑325 is necessary, since the Parole Board of Canada, or PBC, already has the power to revoke parole. For example, a sexual predator in Montreal recently had his parole revoked by the PBC for breach of his conditions.

Subclause 2(1) of Bill C‑325 replaces paragraph 742.1(c) of the Criminal Code, which specifies that a sentence may be served at home for certain offences, to simply disqualify a sentence from being served in the community for any offence that carries a maximum sentence of 14 years or more. The current paragraph 742.1(c) of the Criminal Code states that a community-based sentence cannot be handed down for the following offences: attempt to commit murder, torture, or advocating genocide. Bill C‑325 is therefore much broader than paragraph 742.1(c), since many offences now carry a maximum sentence of 14 years, such as altering a firearm magazine once Bill C‑21 receives royal assent.

Subclause 2(2) adds two new paragraphs after paragraph 742.1(d) to specify that a conditional sentence, that is, a sentence to be served in the community, cannot be imposed for an offence that resulted in bodily harm, that involved drug trafficking, or that involved the use of a weapon. In addition, a community-based sentence cannot be imposed for the following offences: prison breach, criminal harassment, sexual assault, kidnapping, trafficking, abduction of a person under the age of 14, motor vehicle theft, theft over $5,000, breaking and entering, being unlawfully in a dwelling-house, and arson for a fraudulent purpose. That is a pretty broad list, and we will have to see in committee whether certain offences need to be added or removed.

Clause 3 amends the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. It states that, if a parole supervisor discovers that an offender on conditional release has breached their parole conditions, they must inform the Parole Board, the Attorney General and the police force with jurisdiction where the breach occurred of the breach and the circumstances surrounding the breach.

It is important to note that, contrary to what the Conservatives suggest, judges have discretionary power to give individuals community-based sentences. It is not automatic, and judges must factor in the risk of reoffending and the consequences of a sentence served at home.

Second, the Bloc Québécois intends to introduce a bill that addresses problems with Bill C‑5. The member for Rivière-du-Nord talked about the upcoming introduction of a bill to close some of the gaps in Bill C‑5. According to my colleague, conditional sentences should be not be allowed for most sexual assault cases and gun crimes, and he will be introducing a bill in the coming weeks to reinstate minimum sentences for those crimes. While Bill C‑5 was up for debate, the National Assembly unanimously passed a motion condemning its controversial provisions. My colleague's bill is based on that motion.

The motion accused Ottawa of setting back the fight against sexual assault. The member for Rivière‑du‑Nord had already moved an amendment to the bill that would have retained minimum sentences while giving judges discretion to depart from them in exceptional cases, with justification. This amendment was defeated, but the Bloc Québécois ended up voting for Bill C‑5 anyway, since it also provided for diversion for simple drug possession offences. As justice critic, the member for Rivière-du-Nord intends to call for the government to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new bill that, in his opinion, could satisfy both the Liberals and the Conservatives. I know that he has spoken about this a few times.

Third, I will talk about a few cases to provide some food for thought in this debate. A man who assaulted a sleeping woman benefited from the leniency of a judge who sentenced him to serve his sentence in the community, even though he himself was prepared to go to jail.

On Monday, a Crown prosecutor expressed outrage that, after eight years of legal proceedings, a sex offender was let off with a 20-month sentence to be served in the community. In his words, the federal Liberals “have a lot to answer for to victims”. Since the passage of Bill C‑5 in June, it is once again possible to impose a conditional sentence, or a sentence to be served in the community, for the crime of sexual assault, which had not been allowed since 2007. The Crown prosecutor blames Parliament for passing Bill C‑5, which reintroduced conditional sentences.

The other highly publicized case is that of Marylène Levesque. Coroner Stéphanie Gamache determined that an electronic bracelet with geolocation could have prevented Ms. Levesque's murder in January 2020 in a Quebec City hotel room. The coroner recommended that all offenders convicted of homicide tied to domestic violence should be required to wear the device upon release as part of their correctional plan. As a result of pressure from Quebec, the matter has now made its way to Ottawa. I even had an opportunity to study the bill on the device at the Standing Committee on the Status of Women following pressure from Quebec. It was a recommendation in the report entitled “Rebâtir la confiance”, on rebuilding trust in the justice system. Some progress has been made on advancing the issue in Ottawa through the work of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women.

Following Marylène Levesque's murder, Correctional Service Canada and the Parole Board of Canada reviewed their practices and adopted a series of measures to ensure better monitoring of offenders. However, the coroner ruled that this is not enough. It is not just a question of electronic bracelets, either. According to the coroner, the correctional plan of the murderer, Eustachio Gallese, should also be reviewed in order to identify what elements may have led to his lack of accountability.

This could help prevent another similar tragedy. In her report, coroner Gamache wrote that the comprehensive correctional intervention plan prepared for this offender was a resounding failure. Marylène Levesque's murder occurred less than a year after he was granted parole. At the time, Eustachio Gallese was on day parole for the 2004 murder of his ex-wife. His parole officer had given him permission to visit erotic massage parlours once a month, but in reality, according to the police investigation, he was going up to three times a week. In short, an electronic bracelet with geolocation would at least have made it possible to detect these lies and subterfuges and to take action before it was too late. That is what the coroner argued. This bracelet allows for better monitoring, but that is not all.

In conclusion, for all these reasons, this bill must be referred to committee. We need to go back to the drawing board and rise above partisanship. The Bloc Québécois intends to make a constructive contribution to this debate.

We have made a lot of progress in Quebec, and we have done a lot of thinking. I hope to have the opportunity to come back to this, but on Thursday evening, I celebrated the 50th anniversary of the community organization Joins-toi, which works to help people who have committed crimes re-enter society. Working to reintegrate people and offering them alternatives to the criminal lifestyle is an intrinsic value that we cherish in Quebec. At the event, we heard about all the progress that has been made thanks to the community and to dedicated stakeholders who believe in restorative justice. This is a model that Quebec has done a lot to develop. I would like to pay tribute to the entire Maison Joins-toi team. I hope that I will have another opportunity to commend its members and highlight their work, as I was able to do on Thursday on the occasion of this milestone anniversary.

The House resumed from June 1 consideration of the motion that Bill C-325, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and conditional Release Act (conditions of release and conditional sentences), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Opposition Motion—Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

September 28th, 2023 / 10:25 a.m.
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Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Madam Speaker, when we talk about the carbon tax, our Bloc Québécois friends like to say that it does not apply in Quebec. They need to understand that the federal carbon tax, which does apply to provinces other than Quebec, has a direct impact on consumption in Quebec.

We only have to think of the Alberta farmer who is taxed to grow the food, the trucker who transports it and has to pay a tax, the store that sells the food and the family who buys it. It is a chain. At the end of that chain, the taxes that have been imposed on producers elsewhere in Canada, including the carbon tax, have a direct impact on consumer prices for Quebeckers.

This tax was created by the Liberal Party, which decided it was the best thing in the world. They insisted on it and imposed it on Canadians, and the Bloc Québécois unfortunately supported that. It is easy enough for the Bloc Québécois to say that Quebeckers have their own tax, the carbon exchange, and that the carbon tax does not impact them. However, as I just said, there is a direct—not indirect—impact on consumer products in Quebec.

What we are doing today is not complicated. We are asking the government to give Quebeckers and Canadians some breathing room, to give them a break. The ending of our motion is straightforward. It asks that “the House call on the government to introduce legislation, within seven days of this motion being adopted, to repeal all carbon taxes to bring home lower prices on gas, groceries, and home heating.”

We are actually not attacking the Bloc Québécois. We are asking the Bloc Québécois to show some sense, to understand that people are suffering and that it is expensive. The articles that I read at the start of my speech were not pulled out of thin air, nor were they made up by the Conservative Party. They are reporting facts, things that are happening right now. The Bloc members here in Ottawa, in what they like to call their foreign Parliament, do not understand that reality is different for ordinary people. As I said, there are people in Beauport—Limoilou who are lining up this morning to be able to eat. That is the reality.

I am asking the Bloc Québécois members to think logically. Can they understand that we need to find ways to bring down consumer prices and make it possible for people to keep more of their money? There is already so much taken from their pay in taxes and, on top of that, all consumer goods are getting more expensive. The cost increase is appalling. By eliminating taxes, we will be able to lend a hand to the industry by making things easier for consumers.

I will not blame all 32 Bloc Québécois members. I have spoken with some of them, so I know that there are some who can reason, who think logically, who understand. However, there are others who come into the House and just throw words around. The member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert said, “Madam Speaker, the carbon tax is a very good measure. However, it needs to be increased far more drastically than it has been so far.”

This means that, even though it costs a lot, he believes it is still not enough. His party wants to increase the tax even though it will cost even more. It does not matter if the price of carrots doubles. They do not care. They just want to increase the tax. This is the request from one Bloc Québécois member. We want to know whether the 31 other Bloc members and the leader of the Bloc Québécois agree with this request. Does the leader of the Bloc agree that we should increase a tax that is already too high and that should not exist in the first place? It is not clear, because we have never heard the member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert's colleagues tell him to calm down or say that he is going too far, that he needs to stop and that people are already paying enough. No, they seem to think that what he is saying makes sense.

Let me clarify something that the Bloc members do not seem to understand. The motion also explains that the Bloc Québécois supported the creation of a second carbon tax, which does apply to Quebec. I am referring to the infamous clean fuel regulations.

We know that there was no vote on this. These regulations were put in place by the government, so there was no vote. However, in June, the Leader of the Opposition tabled a motion that specifically called for the cancellation of the carbon tax and the regulations. What did the Bloc Québécois do? It voted against the motion.

As a result, this regulation has been in force since July 1, so now there is a tax, applied through the regulations, that will make gas more expensive. The Parliamentary Budget Officer demonstrated this in a report that I am not allowed to show to the House, but I have it here. In his report, the Parliamentary Budget Officer demonstrates that Quebeckers, yes, Quebeckers, will be taxed directly under these regulations.

The Bloc Québécois will say that it is not a tax, it is regulations, but that is just semantics. When people pay, when they take out their credit card to pay for gas, it is a tax. For us, it is a tax. For the public, it is a tax. No matter what it is called, the fact remains that when regulations are in effect and make people pay, it is a tax.

Environment and Climate Change Canada has come up with estimates for all this. The Parliamentary Budget Officer's report states:

Relative to household disposable income, PBO results show that the Clean Fuel Regulations are broadly regressive. That is, the cost to lower income households represents a larger share of their disposable income compared to higher income households.

Environment and Climate Change Canada even estimates that the clean fuel regulations will increase the price of gasoline and diesel in 2030, the year in which the regulations reach full stringency, and will reduce Canada's real GDP by up to 0.3%, or $9 billion, in 2030.

While the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois always claim that they listen to the experts, they obviously have selective hearing because some experts are pointing out problems. Most importantly, they are not listening to Canadians, or to Quebeckers in the Bloc Québécois's case. If anyone is wondering why people are starting to ask questions, I just gave the answer.

Sometimes, the Bloc Québécois can do good things. In its election platform, there is one good thing. The first point is obviously not so good because it is about achieving independence. That will not be achieved here, but in Quebec City. I invite the Bloc members to run for provincial office so they can try to achieve independence there.

Anyway, back to Ottawa. The Bloc Québécois states in its platform that it must be able to change. That is written in black and white. For the past two weeks, their new messaging has been that they are responsible people, that they are the adults in the House, even though they are yelling behind me. They say they can change.

I must admit that they showed they could change. To counter the effects of the legislation created by Bill C-5, which allows criminals to serve their sentences at home, I introduced Bill C-325. The Bloc Québécois said they would support me because a mistake had indeed been made. The Bloc admitted that it was a problem. Everybody makes mistakes, and the Bloc members acknowledged that they were wrong.

Today, we are asking them to do the same for these taxes, which have a direct impact on the economy for Canadians and Quebeckers. We are asking the Bloc to support the Conservative Party and acknowledge that the government may have gone too far. Enough with all these taxes. They are not having the desired results. We can clearly see that some results are not coming through at all in the fight against climate change. There are other solutions, other approaches.

I would invite the Bloc members to listen to the speech that the Conservative leader gave in Quebec City. He clearly listed our strategies with respect to the environment. There are ways to help the environment, but taxing and suffocating people is not the solution.

I therefore ask that the Bloc Québécois support our motion and convince the Liberals to do likewise. We would also like them to convince the NDP, but that is another matter. The most important thing is to convince the Liberals to change tack and adopt our motion.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

June 1st, 2023 / 6:20 p.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba


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

Madam Speaker, listening to what the member was saying, one can easily draw the conclusion that the private member's bill is fully endorsed, supported and part of the Conservative agenda, with this “tough on crime” attitude Conservatives take on, particularly the far right Conservatives, which is somewhat concerning in itself.

I want to view it from a different approach, and I do not know how many times I heard this from the Minister of Justice himself, that serious crimes deserve serious consequences. There is no doubt the Government of Canada takes very seriously the issue of crime in our communities, our safety and so forth. The actions to date by this government have clearly amplified that.

The question I posed to the sponsor of the bill we are debating this evening was related to the issue of consultation and the work the member has done. Members will notice that, in the response to the question I posed, the member did not work with the different provinces and territories in consultation, or at least report specifically on the provinces' contribution to the debate or the bill the member has brought forward. I do not recall hearing the member say it was provinces X, Y and Z, or a territory or indigenous leadership community supporting the legislation being proposed by the member.

It is important that we recognize, when we talk about our judicial system, that it is a joint responsibility between the provinces, territories, indigenous leaders and Ottawa. To amplify that, I would suggest that one only needs to look at Bill C-48, which is a very important piece of legislation. Prior to it, Conservatives were jumping out of their seats saying that we had to get tough on bail reform, and all that kind of stuff. While they were jumping from their seats, the government was doing its consultations, listening and responding to what the provinces and others were saying about the issue of how we can work together to recognize the importance of having bail reform. There was an opportunity.

Not that long ago we had the discussion in the House. I made the suggestion, and it seemed that members on all sides of the House were supporting the initiatives being taken in Bill C-48. I even cited some very specific quotes because we all know that Bill C-48 is very much a reflection of not only what the provinces and territories in particular were saying, but also what politicians of different political stripes were saying, as well as law enforcement agencies and different advocacy groups. The government did its homework. It did it through consultations. I do not think anyone was coming forward, at least not that I am aware of, saying that conditional sentences should be outright turned into a criminal breach, if in fact there is a violation of a conditional sentence, no matter how minor it might be.

Again, I look to the introducer of the legislation and what we are debating with Bill C-325. Does he realize that, by making it a criminal offence, which is what the legislation is attempting to do, it could criminalize someone on a conditional sentence that does not fall under the Criminal Code? If so, does he not have any issues with that?

One has to question the issue of our judicial system and its independence. They often talk about Bill C-5, which is an important piece of legislation that ultimately enabled judges to have more discretion with things like conditional sentences. The legislation recognized that there are injustices, whether in Black or indigenous communities. There is overrepresentation, and we need to be open to alternatives.

I have more faith in our judges than I do in the Conservative Party members, who tend to want to use the Criminal Code or a tough-on-crime approach in order to generate more money for the Conservative Party of Canada or to appear on a bumper sticker. I believe, as I stated at the very beginning of my comments, that serious crimes deserve serious consequences. I also believe that having conditional sentences for people who do not pose any risk to the public can be a win-win.

Unlike the Conservatives, I recognize the fact that there is a revolving door. We need to recognize that when we lock someone up, eventually, they will come out. Looking at ways in which we can minimize crimes and prevent them from taking place in the first place should be a priority. It is a priority for the government—