Evidence of meeting #113 for Justice and Human Rights in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was agreed.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Shannon Davis-Ermuth  Legal Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Policy Sector, Department of Justice
Tony Clement  Parry Sound—Muskoka, CPC
Arif Virani  Parkdale—High Park, Lib.
Matthew Taylor  Acting Senior Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Policy Sector, Department of Justice
Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Olivier Champagne

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

Mr. Ehsassi, did you...? No.

Go ahead, Mr. Clement.

4:20 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka, CPC

Tony Clement

I respect Mr. McKinnon's intervention. One point I haven't made yet, and did want to make at some point, is that Parliament is also a signal centre. That's one of the things we do. When we send signals that certain offences could be deemed to be less serious in their prosecution, we are also sending a signal to society. We're sending a signal that perhaps these offences are no longer as serious as they were considered by previous parliaments.

I don't think that's a signal we should send as parliamentarians. I respect my honourable friend's opinion, but this is also a reason why we oppose de-hybridization.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Colin Fraser Liberal West Nova, NS

I respectfully disagree with my colleague, and I think the important point here is that the offences we're going through right now can be committed in a range of ways, all the way up to the most serious example we can think of, and that is reflective of hybrid offences that are in the code now, such as sexual assault, which can be committed in a range of ways. I don't think that means that anybody thinks that type of an offence is considered less serious, but it does reflect the fact that it can be committed in a range of ways and offers prosecutorial discretion in those cases where it's appropriate.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

I have everybody's comment.

Mr. Cooper, do you want to add anything?

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

The only thing I would add to this is that each of these offences was decided by Parliament to be an indictable offence for a reason. We have not heard any justification for why these very specific offences—which were all classified as indictable offences by Parliament—should be reclassified, other than following the general theme about providing greater discretion to address delay, which has been debunked by way of evidence before the committee that it would not reduce delay and it would likely increase delay. If that is a rationale that the government is putting forward, it is pretty thin gruel.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

Ms. Khalid.

October 24th, 2018 / 4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Thank you, Chair.

I take the points of all of my colleagues here. I want to say that the work we do here with each bill, each clause, as we're going through adds to a bigger context, a bigger picture of how to better provide justice to Canadians. Delay is a big problem now. The Jordan decision clearly outlines that. On the grounds that people are facing these very severe issues, we do need to take serious measures to ensure that we're addressing the delay issue. It's not the one thing that fixes everything. It is bit by bit by bit, together painting a bigger picture as to how we're going to fix our justice system and really eliminate those delays.

I believe that hybridization is a way towards moving to reducing delays. We have heard testimony to that effect. I think this is a strong measure with the agreement of the provinces and territories to say let's move in this direction. I think that does not take away from the severity of a crime. It does not take away any safety that Canadians are entitled to and do have within our country, and it doesn't send any bad signals, other than the fact that our government is working towards eliminating delays and better providing access to justice within our country.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

Thank you. We will move to the vote on CPC-4.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 9 agreed to)

(On clause 10)

We now move to clause 10. We have amendment CPC-5.

Mr. Cooper.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I have another amendment to de-hybridize what is a serious indictable offence that Bill C-75 would hybridize, namely the punishment of a rioter.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

Thank you very much.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 10 agreed to)

(On clause 11)

Now we move to clause 11, and that takes us to amendment CPC-6.

Mr. Cooper.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair. This amendment again deals with de-hybridizing another serious indictable offence that Bill C-75 hybridizes, and that relates to neglect by a peace officer.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

Thank you very much.

Are there any further comments?

4:25 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka, CPC

Tony Clement

Mr. Chair, just to underline the point, we want laws that are just and are seen to be just, and that apply to citizenry generally but also to peace officers. If a peace officer neglects his or her duty to suppress a riot, I think most people in our country would agree that it is a very serious offence. That is why I support my colleague's amendment.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

Is there any further discussion?

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Again, I would say that hybridization does not take away from the seriousness of an offence. It is a way to give prosecutorial discretion. I don't agree that having it as straight indictable would somehow make this offence more serious.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

Thanks very much. We'll move to a vote on CPC-6.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 11 agreed to)

(On clause 12)

Now we move to clause 12 and CPC-7.

Mr. Cooper.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Again, this is another amendment to de-hybridize another clause that Bill C-75 hybridizes.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

That is on unlawful drilling.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Yes.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Mr. Chair, I would ask Mr. Cooper, what does this law entail? I haven't read it.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Let me just say that I oppose—as I made clear in my comments—all of the hybridization offences. Each of these was decided by Parliament to be an indictable offence for a reason. This government has not provided any reason beyond the fact that this is purportedly aimed at addressing delay. Moreover, there was no consideration during the time of this committee to examine each of these offences individually as to why the government was moving forward with reclassification.

Without more, I oppose the hybridization.

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

Mr. Clement.

4:25 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka, CPC

Tony Clement

Mr. Chair, this particular section may seem arcane, but we've had incidents of secretive paramilitary organizations or groups of terrorists who have been training for violent activities in our country. I think this committee should do its due diligence and see how serious that offence is.

I know that my honourable friend would say they're not opining on whether an offence is serious or not, but I think the net impact of this is in fact quite the opposite. As I've said, as parliamentarians, we create signals: signals both to society and to nefarious people who want to destroy our society and who could be of the left, the right or radicalized in some way. The imagination wanders, but to say that this is a matter that could be dealt with through summary conviction I think defies imagination and logic.

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Anthony Housefather

Thank you. I think we're at the point where we could vote on CPC-7.

(Amendment negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings])

(Clause 12 agreed to)

(Clause 13 agreed to)

(On clause 14)

Now we move to clause 14 and CPC-8.

Mr. Cooper.

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

This amendment would de-hybridize a section of the Criminal Code that Bill C-75 hybridizes. That is subsection 82(1), which deals with a very serious Criminal Code offence, namely, having without lawful excuse an explosive substance.