Thank you, Mr. Chair.
During the course of a lot of the testimony by witnesses during our consideration of the bill, there were references made on repeated occasions to the phrase “primarily used”. I want to move this particular amendment so that, for all of the four proposed paragraphs that describe property, it makes sure that the language “primarily used” is changed. I feel that language could limit the instances where hate-based mischief could take place. Through this amendment, I'm proposing to broaden the legislation a bit so we can catch areas in buildings or parts of buildings that are used for religious worship, or a meeting place that's associated with an identifiable group.
I'll just quote a few of the witnesses we heard.
Mr. Gilmour, in your previous testimony, you mentioned that the way the bill is currently worded, if someone went to a bar and mischief were committed against the bar because there were members of, say, the gay community inside, you didn't see, in the current reading of the bill, that being covered.
We had Mr. Gardee, the executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, who said:
Even if a building is not primarily used...but used on an occasional basis, then there is an indication there that the crime was committed directly targeting a particular community. It would seem to make sense to look at that very seriously.
We had Mr. Mostyn, who said:
I had just suggested changing the wording from “primarily used for”, which are the three words that are in the paragraphs, and suggested an alternative description, because I don't think this is where you want to get really narrow. I think this is where you want to be broad.
Then, of course, Mickey Wilson, the executive director of Pride Centre of Edmonton, said:
...I think there are a lot of limitations when we include the word “primarily”, because that business might not have anything to do with our community other than that it is supportive and is indicating we are welcome, and yet it could be targeted just because it has that symbol there.
With that, Mr. Chair, because of the testimony that we heard, I feel it's important to move this particular amendment. I'd welcome comments and feedback.