Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to the witnesses.
As I understand it, in 2000 there was a change to the victim surcharge to provide judges with discretion in the case of undue hardship.
Monsieur Gratton, you indicated in your testimony that it is your belief that the judges will be a lot more judicious in applying the waiver of a victim surcharge in light of the fact that their discretion was taken away. I think it would be helpful, for the record, to understand, in part—and you did allude to it in your testimony—some of the figures that we saw.
In the province of New Brunswick, a report in 2008 indicated that the victim surcharge in two-thirds of some 62,000 cases had been waived. While judges were supposed to justify their decision for waiving the surcharge, this information was not included in 99% of 861 cases reviewed for that 2008 study in the province of New Brunswick. In light of, really, a consistent pattern of waiving the victim surcharge when, really, in many cases there was nothing other than the mere assertion of undue hardship involved, why should we have any confidence that this will not return to the same pattern that resulted in the previous Conservative government making that surcharge mandatory? It should be noted that there was a considerable cost in the form of funds for services and programs to support victims as a result of that waiver.