Mr. Speaker, I know my colleague from Vancouver Kingsway has issues in his riding about what we sometimes call petty crime, or theft under $5,000.
As my colleague correctly said, the idea raised in this bill originates with the member for Trinity—Spadina who has worked long on the issue of how to treat a citizen's arrest. This bill applies not just to shopkeepers and small business owners but to homeowners as well. New Democrats put forward this idea to a government that spends the vast majority of its time talking about crime issues.
There is a gap in the law. What happens when a citizen makes an arrest outside the immediate event itself? If an hour or several hours have gone by, the law changes. It does not allow for the same citizen's arrest.
Sometimes when a crime is committed the store owner or the homeowner sees the person who committed the crime but no police are available. It is important for people to understand that if police are available or there are reasonable grounds to expect a police officer to be available to make the arrest, that is the preferred course. Police officers are paid and trained to do that type of work. It is a dangerous thing to make a citizen's arrest. It is provocative. It can be very intense. It can also be quite physically dangerous for both parties involved. It is not ideal.
We are suggesting that if the government wants to make this change, we will allow the bill to be split and fast-track this part immediately through Parliament. We have not heard from the other parties yet as to whether or not they are interested in doing this, but it is critical. The part that we want to fast-track is the piece that we all agree on. It does not need further study. We are suggesting that if a citizen's arrest is not made in the process of the crime being committed but sometime after that, it would still be permissible for a citizen to make an arrest without fear of being charged with assault or confinement or whatnot.
We again plead with the government that if it wants to get something done, this is an opportunity to do it.