Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to congratulate my colleague from Nepean for introducing this bill, which was examined by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
With the goal of ensuring that we can complete debate within this hour, I will be very brief in my remarks.
As chair of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, I want to say how important this bill is. The member for Nepean took incidents in his own community of vandalism against community centres—a Jewish community centre, a Muslim community centre—and saw that there was an opening in the law, a hole in subsection 430(4.1) of the Criminal Code creating offences for hate-motivated mischief. He saw that the law currently covered only churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious institutions. He said that it had to cover more. It had to cover community centres, schools, and seniors centres.
One of the reasons I wanted to speak was to highlight the co-operation of the member, all the witnesses, all the members of the standing committee, and the government. We have had in the House a lot of times when we have not worked together well, but in this case, we did. We on the committee felt that the member's draft bill went too far in the number of buildings that were included. It would have included city halls, public schools, and arenas. We thought the government's position was too narrow. It only wanted to include religious buildings: Jewish community centres, Muslim community centres. We heard from witnesses and understood the reason we needed this law to apply to communities beyond religious-based communities. The black community centre needed to be protected. The LGBTQ community centre needed to be protected. We needed to ensure that if a black community centre was attacked, it would be covered, or if a LGBTQ community centre was attacked, it would be covered.
In the end, the committee said it would include any building primarily used by one of the identifiable groups. We ended up with consensus. The Liberals, Conservatives, and NDP members on the committee all supported the way the law was redrafted. In the end, to me, this was an example of how the House should work, harmoniously and with us listening to each other.
I am proud to have chaired the committee that brought this back to the House. I am proud that the member and the government support our amendments. This is a great example of how Canada can work together.