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House of Commons Hansard #149 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liberal.

Topics

Question No. 204Routine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, on October 19 the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons raised a point of order to question whether or not Bill C-364 required a royal recommendation, and I would like to respond to that.

The Standing Orders were revised in 1994 to remove the requirement that a royal recommendation had to be provided to the House at the time of introduce of bills.

On page 897 of Marleau and Montpetit, it states:

--since 1994, a private Member may introduce a public bill containing provisions requiring the expenditure of public funds provided that a royal recommendation is obtained by a Minister before the bill is read a third time and passed.

Marleau and Montpetit provides an example of this happening. Bill C-216, an act to amend the Unemployment Insurance Act, had been reported back to the House from committee on June 16, 1994 and debate at the third reading stage began on December 6, 1994.

The bill was given royal assent on March 26, 1995, more than nine months after it was reported back to the House from committee.

A royal recommendation clearly can be provided after the bill has been introduced so long as it is provided before the bill is read a third time and passed by the House. It does not prevent the bill from being debated at second reading, referred to a committee for study or allow for amendments to be proposed. As such, the motion of the parliamentary secretary with respect, Mr. Speaker, is premature.

The parliamentary secretary also argued that Bill C-364, the trade compensation act, clause 3, constituted an appropriation for an entirely new purpose which was not already legislatively authorized.

The Minister of International Trade, on April 15, announced funding for the softwood lumber industry associations in the amount of $20 million and before that in the amount of $15 million. It may be argued that such spending then, Mr. Speaker, is already legislatively authorized.

Under clause 4 of the bill, which refers to loan guarantees, it also may be argued that the government by way of the Business Development Bank of Canada already provides loan guarantees in similar circumstances such as this bill proposes.

I submit, with respect, that the parliamentary secretary is premature, first, with his objection to the bill. Second, it is arguable that the bill may not even need a royal recommendation.

These concerns however, notwithstanding the above, can be addressed at the committee level and amendments may be brought forward such that the bill may not require a royal recommendation.

I also have written to the minister to seek the support for a royal recommendation should it be required. I am confident, Mr. Speaker, that once the House sends the bill to committee and the minister sees the support for the legislation, the government will gladly furnish a royal recommendation if required before it is read a third time and passed.

Points of OrderRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

I thank the hon. member for his intervention on this matter and of course I will be back to the House in due course with a ruling.

The House resumed consideration of the motion, of the amendment and of the amendment to the amendment.

PrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Is the House ready for the question?

PrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

PrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The question is on the amendment to the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment to the amendment?

PrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

PrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

An hon. member

On division.

(Amendment to the amendment agreed to)

PrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The next question is on the amendment. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the amendment?

PrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

PrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

An hon. member

On division.

(Amendment agreed to)

PrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

The next question is on the main motion, as amended. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

PrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

PrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

PrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

PrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

PrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

PrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

PrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:

PrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Call in the members.

And the bells having rung:

PrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

At the request of the chief government whip, the vote on the motion, as amended, will be deferred until tomorrow evening at 5:30 p.m.

(Bill C-50. On the Order: Government Orders)

May 16, 2005--The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada--Second reading and reference to the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness of Bill C-50, an act to amend the Criminal Code in respect of cruelty to animals.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberalfor the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

moved:

That Bill C-50, an act to amend the Criminal Code in respect of cruelty to animals, be referred forthwith to the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

November 14th, 2005 / 3:25 p.m.

Northumberland—Quinte West Ontario

Liberal

Paul MacKlin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to the provisions of Bill C-50, an act to amend the Criminal Code relating to the cruelty to animals.

The legislation has a long and notorious history in Parliament. Members will no doubt remember that the legislation has been before the House on a number of occasions over the past five years. These animal cruelty amendments were first introduced in Parliament in 1999 as part of an omnibus criminal reform bill called Bill C-17 but died on the order paper. They were later reintroduced as another omnibus bill, Bill C-15, in a subsequent Parliament. That bill was split into two portions and the portion which contained the animal cruelty amendments again died on the order paper. The amendments were next re-tabled as Bill C-10 which were again split and again the portion with animal cruelty died on the order paper. In the last Parliament, these amendments were known as Bill C-22. Today we are discussing the same amendments in Bill C-50.

The history of the bill is a long and winding road, which includes two highly unusual incidents of bill-splitting and several messages being sent between this and the other chamber. Given the occurrences of rare parliamentary procedures and ping-ponging of the legislation, a person unfamiliar with this history might come away with the impression that the legislation is still controversial and lacks broad base support.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind the members that in actual fact this House has passed this legislation several times in the last two years with support from members on both sides of the House. In addition, hon. members should recall that the legislation has a history of accommodation and compromise that has brought together groups that advocate for animal welfare, as well as groups that advocate for people whose livelihoods depend upon the use of animals. Let me explain.

Over the past five years there has been spirited and comprehensive debate about the impact of the legislation in both this House and the other place, in committees in both places, in the public domain and in the media, not to mention the innumerable meetings between stakeholders and various government officials. As a result, specific amendments have been made on a number of occasions to this bill. These were not legally necessary changes, I would submit, but were adopted by the government with a view to providing greater clarity about the issues of concern.

These accommodations did not compromise protections against animal cruelty. The end result was that a large number of industry stakeholders came to support the legislation. The ministers received the written support of a broad based coalition of industry groups, including a letter from earlier this year urging the government to re-table these very amendments just months before this bill was tabled.

This coalition of stakeholders includes representatives from the agricultural sector, animal research and the trapping industry. The legislation is not meant to and will not negatively impact on the lawful and humane animal related industries and these industries have now acknowledged that. Of course, animal welfare organizations, as well as veterinary associations, police associations and provincial attorneys general, continue to support the legislation wholeheartedly.

The only difference between this legislation and that which was last passed by this House as Bill C-22 is the inclusion now of a non-derogation clause that reaffirms the applicability of existing constitutional protection for traditional aboriginal practices. This was included after discussions between the minister and concerned senators over the potential impact of the legislation on aboriginal persons.

In every other respect, the legislation we have before us today mirrors exactly that legislation which was passed by this House many times already and which stakeholder groups on all sides of the issue urged the government to re-table.

With that brief history, let me make a few basic points about the legislation.

The first point to note is that Bill C-50 is not about new law. It is about better law. The criminal law already contains a range of offences that prohibit cruelty to animals and has since 1893, but the law is a messy jumble of archaic terminology and piecemeal amendments made on a few occasions since 1893.

The first goal of the bill therefore is to modernize, simplify and rationalize the law as well as to fill in certain gaps in legal protection. This objective is accomplished by a variety of measures, including: removing the distinctions in the law that originate from another century; removing overlapping offences; improving the coherence and functionality of the law by removing problematic language, such as “dogs, birds and other animals”; eliminating the illogical notion of “wilful neglect” that is not found anywhere else in our criminal law; and filling in gaps by creating new offences of killing an animal with a brutal or vicious intent and training an animal for the purpose of fighting another animal.

One other change that bears mentioning is the creation of a new chapter of the Criminal Code devoted specifically to animal cruelty. The new chapter would not change the legal substance of offences but would allow us to stop categorizing animal cruelty as property crime and to symbolically reflect that animal cruelty is most appropriately characterized as a gross violation of public standards of acceptable behaviour, as oftentimes it is a serious offence of violence. In fact, there is increasingly scientific evidence of a link between animal cruelty and subsequent violent offending against humans, particularly in the context of domestic violence. The women and children who are forced to witness animal cruelty know that it is not about property damage and it is time our Criminal Code recognized this reality.

The second goal of the amendments is to increase and enhance the penalty regime for animal cruelty offences. The way that society traditionally recognizes the seriousness of a particular conduct is through the penalty that it prescribes for that conduct.

Bill C-50 would make the law more coherent by clearly distinguishing criminally negligent conduct from wilful cruelty for the purposes of providing different sentencing ranges. The person who keeps too many cats and is unable to care for them all commits a different kind of criminal offence than one who skins a cat alive, and Bill C-50 would ensure that penalty ranges reflect this.

The current maximum penalty for animal cruelty, six months in prison or a $2,000 fine or both, would be increased accordingly for both kinds of crime. For intentional cruelty, which would be made a hybrid offence, the maximum penalty on indictment would be increased to five years and on summary conviction to eighteen months. For criminally negligent offences, the maximum sentence would be increased to two years.

Another change is the removal of the current two year cap on orders prohibiting a convicted offender from owning or living with animals. The length of a prohibition order would be in the discretion of the judge and he or she would make the final determination. The courts would also be given a clear power to order a convicted offender to repay to a person or to an organization, which most likely would be the animal welfare society, the costs associated with the caring for the animal the offender was convicted of abusing.

These penalty enhancements, coupled with the other set of reforms that bring greater simplicity, coherence and rationality to the laws, will work together to signal to judges, prosecutors, police and the general public that the abuse of animals is about violence and that cruelty is a matter of serious criminal law.

To be effective, good criminal law must not only provide adequate penalty ranges, it must also be clear, coherent, complete and must reflect the true nature of the misconduct and the societal values at stake. The full range of legal reforms is necessary to bring our 19th century criminal laws in this area into the 21st century.

Over the course of many years that animal cruelty amendments have been before Parliament, Canadians have consistently voiced their strong support for legislative change in this area and their expectation that the legislation will be passed without delay. I urge all members in the House to ensure that occurs as soon as possible.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, is the parliamentary secretary saying that the bill is exactly the same as the bill that was passed by the House previously?

Many agricultural, hunting and trapping groups are expressing a lot of concern about the idea that one examines whether the killing of an animal is judged criminal, whether or not death ensues immediately. I would think that death ensuing immediately would go to the determination of whether or not something is vicious and brutal.

In my reading of the act, it seems to suggest that the act of killing the animal can be vicious and brutal even though death ensues immediately. That does not make any sense to me. Even though something might appear to be vicious and brutal, if the act of killing an animal, let us say a cow or a hog, was immediate, how can it then be vicious and brutal? I would like to have that explained.