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Evidence of meeting #41 for Public Safety and National Security in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was mackenzie.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Roger Préfontaine
Mary Campbell  Director General, Corrections and Criminal Justice Directorate, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Mike MacPherson  Procedural Clerk
Douglas Hoover  Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Garry Breitkreuz

I'd like to bring this meeting to order.

This is the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, meeting number 41. We are dealing with Bill C-34, an act to amend the Criminal Code and other acts.

We again welcome as witnesses Ms. Mary Campbell, director general of corrections at the criminal justice directorate; and from the Department of Justice, Mr. Douglas Hoover, counsel for the criminal law policy section.

We are continuing clause-by-clause consideration of this bill. Hopefully you remember, from about three or four weeks ago, that we are resuming debate on the subamendment by Mr. MacKenzie.

Mr. MacKenzie, do you want to briefly remind us what that subamendment was?

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Conservative Oxford, ON

I wish I could.

I believe we were discussing “modus operandi”. There was some debate about whether we could use Latin terms or whether we needed to use the two official languages. At that point I think we were suggesting we could change “modus operandi”, in English, to the person's “method of operation”, which would properly describe what I think Mr. Ménard had.

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Garry Breitkreuz

Okay. The question is on the subamendment by Mr. MacKenzie. Are you all clear as to what his subamendment is? He's replacing the words “modus operandi” with “method of operation”.

Monsieur Ménard.

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. MacKenzie sent his proposal to me in writing, and I agree with what he has. It's their method of operating, is that right?

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Garry Breitkreuz

Yes.

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

That's in relation to the offence or offences. I agree with this. In French, it's

“their method of operating in relation to the offence or offences”.

11:40 a.m.

The Clerk of the Committee Mr. Roger Préfontaine

Mr. Ménard, your subamendment says, “the person's method of operation”.

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

I know, but my amendment used the expression “modus operandi”. Mr. MacKenzie moved a subamendment that seeks to avoid using the Latin words “modus operandi” and to use the English words instead,

their “method of operation”, in relation to the offence.

In French, it says “the person's method of operation”.

I agree with the subamendment by Mr. MacKenzie.

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Garry Breitkreuz

Very good. I think that's clear.

Mr. Kania.

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Liberal Brampton West, ON

I'm not going to belabour it; I'm simply going to indicate that we agree.

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Garry Breitkreuz

Okay.

Mr. MacKenzie.

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Conservative Oxford, ON

Mr. Chair, I wonder whether we could get a comment from the officials. It's been a little while since we were here. Could either Mr. Hoover or Ms. Campbell give us a comment on it?

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Garry Breitkreuz

Are you prepared to do that right now, Ms. Campbell?

11:40 a.m.

Mary Campbell Director General, Corrections and Criminal Justice Directorate, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Yes. From a drafting perspective, I think there was additional wording, which Mr. Yumansky has, that refers to “if the information is available”. That would address those situations where it wouldn't be an absolute requirement to enter the information if it's not available.

Although it might seem implicit that one would not enter information that is not available, the drafters seem to feel that out of an abundance of caution the words should be there.

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Chair....

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Garry Breitkreuz

Yes, Mr. Ménard.

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

That is indeed what Mr. MacKenzie sent me in writing. After reading it, I agree. I thought that the addition was there, and I agree with that. I can let Mr. MacKenzie read the subamendment he proposed to me. I noticed that when he recites it from memory, the wording is a bit different.

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Garry Breitkreuz

Mr. MacPherson, would you like to make a comment?

11:40 a.m.

Mike MacPherson Procedural Clerk

It's just to indicate that what we have received does not include the “if available” portion, so that would have to be submitted and moved.

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Garry Breitkreuz

Mr. Davies.

December 3rd, 2009 / 11:40 a.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

I have two questions. First, I think there will always be a method of operation, because every sex crime is committed in a certain way. There will always be something to describe what happened.

Second, if I'm not restating the obvious, who would draft that information and how would it get to the registry? Who would summarize it? Would it be summarized through the court decision, or how would one know how to put that in?

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Garry Breitkreuz

Mr. Hoover.

11:40 a.m.

Douglas Hoover Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice

That's primarily the issue we'd be concerned with. Right now the provision states that the person entering the information shall register the information, so there is a mandatory requirement.

We looked at section 17, the offence provision, to ensure that wouldn't apply. We're satisfied for the most part that they wouldn't be exposing themselves to the offence in the provision. But there are other liabilities that might be incurred.

So the issue is how does the RCMP get that at the NSOR centres where this information is entered? In many situations it's possible, but in other situations it may not be possible to get it at all or on a timely basis. You may have to get the recording of the proceedings transcribed. In other instances you may have to somehow get summaries from the files of the prosecutor, which may or may not be available in certain jurisdictions.

Our concern is that if it were mandatory it would present problems. It would also present the problem that they'd have to put something in. It could be bad information, which I think is worse than no information. So this would be an appropriate amendment. In almost all cases, if they have it or can get it easily it will go in. Eventually in the future they'll probably have systems in place that will allow for that information to be obtained where it's not available now.

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Garry Breitkreuz

Mr. MacKenzie.

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Conservative Oxford, ON

Just for procedure, can we pass what we've already done and then make another amendment?