Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to rise today to speak to Bill S-217, known as Wynn's law.
I would like to start by offering my sincere condolences and sympathies to Constable David Wynn's widow Shelly MacInnes-Wynn, and her entire family.
I would also like to thank the member for St. Albert—Edmonton for his tireless work on Wynn's law. He has done an incredible job.
When Constable Wynn was shot and killed in the line of duty, it pointed to a dangerous loophole in the Canadian justice system. His killer Shawn Rehn was a career criminal who was out on bail. His killer was granted bail despite the fact that he had more than 50 prior criminal convictions, 38 outstanding charges, as well as arrest warrants for failing to appear in court. That is incredible. It seems unreal that an accused with this type of criminal record would be granted bail. However, we now know that his extensive criminal history was not brought to the attention of the person presiding over his bail hearing, which is shameful. While it is common practice that the prosecutor provide a judge or justice of the peace with the bail applicant's criminal history, it is not legally required. It is difficult to imagine that Shawn Rehn would have been granted bail had his full criminal history been disclosed.
It is an absolute tragedy that Constable Wynn had to die. His death could have been prevented. This tragedy points to a serious loophole in our Criminal Code that must be addressed. The safety and security of Canadians should be the priority for any government. We cannot go back and prevent the death of Constable Wynn, but we can respond in the present by closing the loophole that led to his death. I believe that Wynn's law is the logical response to this tragic event. Wynn's law would require prosecutors to disclose a bail applicant's criminal history at a bail hearing. It is very simple. It would also mandate that failures to appear in court must be disclosed. This legislation introduces a simple measure that has the potential to save lives and increase public safety.
My constituents in the neighbouring riding of Edmonton Griesbach have been very vocal in their support of this bill. At community events, many have told me that they strongly support passing this legislation. I have also received written feedback from hundreds of constituents with respect to Wynn's law. I would like to share some of the feedback that I have received from my constituents on Wynn's law.
Doris wrote, “It's only common sense that previous charges be included in bail hearings, especially in cases where [there is] a long record of breaking laws and ignoring court dates.”
Stanley wrote, “It will help stop innocent lives [from] being taken by dangerous criminals. Plus a lot of lives could have been saved if this law had been in effect long ago.”
Jeanne wrote, “I find it 'criminal' not to pass this law. Shame on the Liberals! Do the right thing!”
Cathy wrote, “Wynn's law is a must!!!”
Susan wrote, “Judges can't make proper decisions without full disclosure of a criminal's history. Get this law put through. Police and public safety should always come before a dangerous criminal.”
I cannot stress enough to the House that these are real people with real feedback. I am speaking for them.
Bob wrote me to say, “This [Constable Wynn] could be any one of us. The judge definitely needs to be aware of a criminal's past history in order to bring about a fair judgment”.
Wendy wrote me to say, “Judges need full disclosure of the criminal's past in order to make a decision that is best for society, not for the criminal”.
Daryl wrote me to say, “Not passing this law is irresponsible and an insult to law-abiding citizens”.
Herb wrote me to say, “Wynn's law should be passed immediately”. I hear Herb.
Glen wrote me to say, “[Wynn's law] should have been done years ago”.
Al wrote me to say, “[Wynn's law], it's a no-brainer bill”.
Perhaps that last comment summarizes it the best. Wynn's law is common-sense legislation. Our judges and justices of the peace cannot be expected to make a fair ruling at a bail hearing without all of the relevant facts.
Again, Wynn's law is a no-brainer. My constituents get it. Canadians across the country get it. Why do the Liberals not get it?
It is time the Liberal government put the safety and security of law-abiding Canadians ahead of criminals.