Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
If you look at section 49, it says, among other things, that someone who wilfully, in the presence of Her Majesty, “does an act that is intended or is likely to cause bodily harm to Her Majesty” has committed an offence.
Colleagues, I believe I mentioned this before. If you talk to people, they'll tell you that if you attack the head of state of any country, that is a serious offence. I know what people will say, that if you get into a scuffle in a bar, that's an offence and so is if you attack the Queen. Most people would say it becomes more serious if you are attacking the representative of the head of state.
I've heard this before, and I'll make the same case again. Some people say that this hasn't been used in many years or maybe not at all. Again, as I pointed out, I remember as a law student at the University of Windsor the professor telling us that the treason sections are not used very often in Canadian history, and he said, “Thank God for that, that's good news, but it doesn't mean you should get rid of the treason sections because hopefully nobody is committing treason against Canada.”
I don't understand even the timing of this. Nobody has a better record of public service, and certainly nobody has a better record over the last 65-plus years in Canada than Queen Elizabeth II. This is her 65th anniversary. She is the longest reigning monarch in British history and in Canadian history. Why would we be removing a section that says, if you try to cause bodily harm to Her Majesty, that is an indictable offence? Why would you want to do that?
Again, I'm not buying the argument that it's like a dust-up in the schoolyard or something. It's not. This is important, and it sends a signal. As I said, the timing could not be worse.
I move, and I believe it is seconded by my colleague Mr. Cooper, that we delete clause 1 of the bill.