That Bill C-9, in Clause 1, be amended
(a) by replacing lines 6 to 13 on page 1 with the following: “742.1 (1) If a person is convicted of an offence and the court imposes a sentence” (b) by adding after line 25 on page 1 the following: “(2) Despite subsection (1), the court shall not order that an offender serve the sentence in the community if the offender is convicted of any of the following offences: (a) an offence punishable by a minimum term of imprisonment; (b) an offence prosecuted by way of indictment for which the maximum term of imprisonment is fourteen years or more; and (c) any of the following offences, if prosecuted by way of indictment and punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years: (i) a terrorism offence, (ii) a criminal organization offence, (iii) an offence under any of the following provisions: (A) section 83.231 (hoax — terrorist activity), (B) subsection 88(1) (possession of weapon for dangerous purpose), (C) section 144 (prison breach) (D) section 160 (bestiality, compelling, in presence of or by child), (E) subsection 212(1) (procuring), (F) section 221 (causing bodily harm by criminal negligence), G) subsection 249(3) (dangerous operation causing bodily harm), (H) subsection 252(1.2) (offence involving bodily harm), (I) subsection 255(2) (impaired driving causing bodily harm), (J) section 264 (criminal harassment), (K) section 267 (assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm), (L) section 271 (sexual assault), (M) section 279 (kidnapping, forcible confinement), (N) section 279.02 (trafficking in persons — material benefit), (O) section 281 (abduction of person under 14), (P) section 282 (abduction in contravention of custody order), (Q) section 283 (abduction), (R) paragraph 334(a) (theft), (S) subsections 342(1) and (3) (theft, forgery of credit card, unauthorized use of credit card data), (T) paragraph 348(1)(e) (breaking and entering with intent, committing offence or breaking out), (U) section 349 (being unlawfully in dwelling-house), (V) section 354 (possession of property obtained by crime), (W) section 382 (fraudulent manipulation of stock exchange transactions), (X) subsection 382.1(1) (prohibited insider trading), (Y) section 396 (offences in relation to mines), (Z) section 400 (false prospectus), (Z.1) section 403 (personation with intent), (Z.2) section 424.1 (threat against United Nations or associated personnel), (Z.3) section 435 (arson for fraudulent purpose), and (Z.4) section 465 (conspiracy), (iv) an offence under any of the following provisions of the Criminal Code, chapter C-34 of the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1970, as they read immediately before January 4, 1983: (A) section 145 (attempt to commit rape), and (B) section 156 (indecent assault on male), (v) an offence under any of the following provisions of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act: (A) section 5 (trafficking), (B) section 6 (importing and exporting), and (C) section 7 (production), (vi) an offence under any of the following provisions of the Food and Drugs Act, as they read immediately before the coming into force of section 64 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act: (A) section 39 (trafficking in controlled drugs), (B) section 44.2 (possession of property obtained by trafficking in controlled drugs), (C) section 44.3 (laundering proceeds of trafficking in controlled drugs), (D) section 48 (trafficking in restricted drugs), (E) section 50.2 (possession of property obtained by trafficking in restricted drugs), and (F) section 50.3 (laundering proceeds of trafficking in restricted drugs), and (vii) an offence under any of the following provisions of the Narcotic Control Act, as they read immediately before the coming into force of section 64 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act: (A) section 19.1 (possession of property obtained by certain offences), and (B) section 19.2 (laundering proceeds of certain offences).”
He said: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-9, an act to amend the Criminal Code dealing with conditional sentences of imprisonment, essentially house arrest, and Motion No. 1.
When the government introduced this bill, it required that those who committed serious crimes would be required to serve their sentences in prison. The bill followed through on a clear commitment that this government made during the last election campaign to tackle crime and make our streets safer.
Unfortunately, the bill that has been reported back from the justice committee is a far different bill from the one that this government initially tabled. Amendments proposed by the Liberals and supported by the New Democrats and the Bloc have effectively gutted the bill. I am not prone to hyperbole, but that is essentially what has happened to this bill. Canadians should know that.
The bill now requires the Crown to prove that the offence is a serious personal injury offence in order to ensure that criminals who have committed serious offences serve their sentences in jail rather than in the ease of their homes. No one should underestimate the burden that the opposition Liberals have placed on the crown attorneys who are trying to prosecute these cases.
The concept of the serious personal injury offence has previously related to a very limited number of offences and is used to determine whether an offender is a dangerous offender. It has been applied in only the most exceptional circumstances.
Let us consider the following case from the Alberta Court of Appeal. In its decision R. v. Neve, 1999, the court found that a robbery where the victim was attacked with a knife and abandoned naked in an open field in 5° weather was a not a serious personal injury offence for the purposes of the application.
The Crown had argued that any degree of violence was sufficient to make an offence a serious personal injury offence. The court specifically rejected that argument and said that the Crown would have to be required to prove “severe physical or psychological injuries”.
That is the same standard the Liberals are imposing on the Crown before it can dispel a conditional sentence. The effect of the amendment proposed by the Liberals and supported by the New Democrats and the Bloc is that criminals who commit arson, break and enter into residences or robbery or who cause bodily harm while driving impaired will all be eligible to receive conditional sentences.
Lest Canadians make any mistake about what that means, it means house arrest. They get to go home, lie on the couch and serve their sentences there. That is what the Liberals have done to our Criminal Code. If the trends of the past 10 years continue, these criminals, as a result of this Liberal amendment, will receive house arrest for these serious offences.
The opposition amendments to this bill have also made offenders who commit serious drug offences eligible for a sentence of house arrest. The opposition has ignored the plague of violence and hardship, the grow ops and the methamphetamine labs of those who engage in serious drug operations in our society in this country. Contrary to what the opposition Liberals think, trafficking in large amounts of narcotics is not a victimless crime and deserves a sentence of serious prison time.
By adding this extra step into sentencing proceedings, the opposition has placed an additional burden on the crown attorneys, a burden that will make trials longer, more complex and more expensive. In some cases, it will mean that victims will have to testify a second time.
Can anyone imagine that? Victims have been through a trial already, but because the Liberals want the Crown to prove that it is a serious personal injury offence, victims would have to go back to court and go through the same process again. That is what the Liberals want. That is the only way to avoid the whole issue of house arrest.
That is what the Liberals want to do to crown attorneys. More importantly, that is what the Liberals want to do to victims.
It will also mean that the category of serious personal injury offences, which was previously only used for dangerous offender applications and which are about 12 applications a year in Canada, will be diluted and thereby possibly bring into question the constitutionality of that very important tool.
The question I ask the opposition Liberals, are they prepared to be responsible for these negative effects on our justice system? What the Liberals and the New Democrats have done has made it clear that they are prepared to talk about being tough on crime during an election campaign. At least we know where the Bloc stood on that issue. They have never been tough on crime, but the Liberals and the New Democrats, during the election, said they would move on crime. They broke their word.
When it comes to delivering to Canadians, the victims of crime, they do not deliver. This amendment is a clear example that their shoddy rhetoric in the last election campaign over public safety support for mandatory minimum penalties for gun crimes and even a reverse onus when it came to bail applications for gun crimes was a shameless ruse to lure voters.
I am proposing an amendment that would restore certainty to Bill C-9 and ensure that those who commit serious crimes will actually serve their time in jail. I have heard from Canadians, victims and police that this certainty is absolutely necessary to ensure the safety of Canadians.
During my travels over the past few months it has been made clear to me by Canadians that those who break and enter into homes, those who rob us on the street at knife point, and those who commit arson and cause bodily harm should serve their time in prison. These offences are serious crimes. They are unacceptable to Canadians. Unfortunately, they are not unacceptable to the Liberal opposition. The perpetrators of these offences should not serve their sentences in the ease of their homes under house arrest.
I have heard the concerns that were expressed in committee that Bill C-9 applies to a number of what the opposition says are relatively minor offences. My amendment follows through on the original principle of Bill C-9 by providing certainty with respect to eligibility for house arrest. The amendment that makes it clear that certain offences should receive prison sentences while lesser offences like the unauthorized use of a computer will be eligible for conditional sentences unless they are related to an organized crime or terrorism offence.
My provincial colleagues have raised concerns about this bill relating to implementation and the cost. My colleague, the Minister of Public Safety, is addressing those issues and we will continue to work with the provinces. However, when I have discussed this matter with my provincial colleagues, they have been clear in their support for the type of measures that we proposed in Bill C-9 and indeed in the amendment that I am proposing here today.
Let us be clear here. Anyone who votes against this amendment is saying yes to house arrest for those who commit crimes like robbery, break and enter into a dwelling house, arson, committing bodily harm while driving impaired, and for serious drug trafficking and production offences. Anyone who votes against this amendment is saying yes to house arrest for those who commit serious commercial crimes like fraudulent manipulation of stock markets, and misleading investors in a prospectus and serious theft.
During the last election the voters made it clear about their expectations from Parliament. They wanted us to tackle crime and make our streets and communities safer. Now it is time for the opposition parties to live up to the commitments they made during the last campaign. Were their election platform covenants with Canadians on crime merely whimsy? The answer to that question will be revealed over the next weeks and months as they vote on the amendments to this bill and government bills on mandatory minimum prison sentences for gun crimes.
The amendment that I have proposed is a reasonable one and responsive to the concerns. It is clear that those who commit serious crimes should serve their sentence in jail and that those who commit minor crimes will be eligible for a conditional sentence. This fulfills our commitment. Will the opposition Liberals fulfill theirs?