House of Commons Hansard #435 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was change.

Topics

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

9:45 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the NDP House leader provided comments about the New Democrats being like busy bees. That is not what I think of in terms of the analogy, because bees are kind of sweet and they provide some good things. I see it more as a mosquito sucking the life out of things. At the end of the day—

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

9:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I would ask the hon. member for Winnipeg North to be judicious in his language. It is usually not helpful when we compare colleagues to animals, etc. I would ask him to be conscious of that.

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

June 17th, 2019 / 9:45 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, as the member was speaking, she talked about and was very critical of the Access to Information Act. She was very critical of Bill C-91 and Bill C-92, all of these wonderful pieces of historical legislation that have moved the bar significantly forward.

The other day, we talked about national pharmacare, and the New Democrats asked, what about hearing and all of these other things? We talk about a national housing strategy, and they say we need to have more houses. We could never, ever please the New Democratic Party here. There is no legislation before the House that they would say they agree with it in its entirety and that we have done a good job on.

Does the member opposite not recognize that within this legislation, where there are significant reforms that have been long overdue, over 30 years overdue, along with other pieces of legislation, there are a lot of good things happening? They can say some positive things. Even when I was in opposition, I said positive things at times to the government. It is okay to agree that the legislation is good at times. Would the member not agree?

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

9:45 p.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, it has been an interesting evening. We are are all maybe getting a bit tired in this place. It is unfortunate that the member does not understand the role I have in this House, which is to be a voice for the people of North Island—Powell River.

Although I have a lot of mosquitoes in my region, I certainly have never thought that I was one. That actually is part of the issue. Cynicism in this country is growing, because we are seeing this in the House instead of honest debate. As a person who has spent my life working very hard in my communities for different issues that I passionately believe in, I do not say things lightly. I do not say things just because I want to be partisan or negative. I say them because, in my gut, that is what I believe. I will stand behind everything that I have said. Every day that I am here, I take very seriously my role, and I will never, ever speak out of turn. I hope the member will reflect on that himself.

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

9:45 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech. She eloquently explained our role here.

We are debating a bill on access to information. The term privileged information is often thrown around. What I find interesting is that information is considered a privilege. In Ottawa, only a select few, such as the government agencies that respond to our requests or the ministers, have access to certain information. The idea is to protect the privilege, or information, that we have.

Information has an impact on people's lives, mostly thanks to the media. Journalists use privileged information to uncover stories or report on the government's actions, for example.

While my colleague was giving her speech, I was looking through the requests received by departments. The Minister of Health has not yet responded to an access to information request regarding her department's response to the opioid crisis.

The purpose of the bill is to make information more accessible to the public. Could my colleague explain why the bill does not meet this objective?

If we are supposed to look at the glass as half full instead of half empty, how can we make information more accessible, in accordance with the law, instead of hiding it?

I do not think the bill meets these objectives.

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

9:50 p.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I mentioned earlier in my speech the fact that The Globe and Mail did a story about how the government delayed and delayed information, which unveiled the fact that one in five sexual assault claims was dismissed as baseless. That is what the RCMP and the police are saying. We know there is something fundamentally broken.

The member talked about information on the opioid crisis. A lot of people in my riding have died from opioid overdose. It is devastating to our communities, and knowing what is happening would make a big difference. When the government is selective about what people get to hear or what they do not get to hear, it creates a real problem with democracy, because it separates us from our constituents, and that needs to stop.

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

9:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Resuming debate.

Is the House ready for the question?

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

9:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

9:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

9:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

9:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

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

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

9:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

9:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

All those opposed will please say nay.

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

9:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Access to Information ActGovernment Orders

9:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Pursuant to order made on Tuesday, May 28, the division stands deferred until Tuesday, June 18, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

9:50 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard—Verdun Québec

Liberal

David Lametti LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

moved:

That a Message be sent to the Senate to acquaint Their Honours that, in relation to Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, the House:

agrees with amendments 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12(b), 13 and 14 made by the Senate;

proposes that amendment 3 be amended to read as follows:

“3. Clause 239, pages 90 and 91:

(a) on page 90, replace lines 2 and 3 with the following:

“dictable offence that is punishable by 14 years or more of imprisonment, other than an offence listed in section 469, the justice”;

(b) on page 90, replace lines 18 and 19 with the following:

able by 14 years or more of imprisonment, an offence listed in section 469 that is not punishable by 14 years or more of imprisonment or an”;

(c) on page 90, replace line 44 with the following:

“section 469 that is punishable by 14 years or more of imprisonment,”;

(d) on page 91, replace lines 20 and 21 with the following:

“offence listed in section 469 that is punishable by 14 years or more of imprisonment, the justice shall endorse on the informa-”;

proposes that amendment 4 be amended to read as follows:

“4. Clause 240, pages 92 and 93:

(a) on page 92, replace line 11 with the following:

“14 years or more of imprisonment, other than an offence mentioned”;

(b) on page 92, replace lines 25 to 27 with the following:

“offence that is punishable by 14 years or more of imprisonment, an offence listed in section 469 that is not punishable by 14 years or more of imprisonment or an offence mentioned in section”;

(c) on page 92, replace line 41 with the following:

“section 469 that is punishable by 14 years or more of imprisonment,”;

(d) on page 93, replace line 20 with the following:

“is punishable by 14 years or more of imprisonment, the justice or”;

proposes that, as a consequence of Senate amendments 3 and 4, the following amendment be added:

1. Clause 238, page 89: replace line 33 with the following

“fence that is punishable by 14 years or more of imprisonment is be-”;

proposes that amendment 6 be amended by replacing the words “an intimate partner – and, in particular, a partner” with the words “a person” and by replacing the words “on the basis of sex or is an Aboriginal person” with the words “because of personal circumstances – including because the person is Aboriginal and female”;

respectfully disagrees with amendment 10 made by the Senate because the Bill already provides flexibility to the provinces and territories with respect to agent representation while also recognizing regional diversity in respect of how legal representation is regulated across Canada, and because the amendment could have unintended repercussions for the provinces and territories; and, the Government continues to work with the provinces and territories to support the effective implementation of these reforms.

proposes that amendment 12(a) in the English version be amended by replacing the words “apply in Bill C-45” with the words “apply if Bill C-45”.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be here today to speak to the amendments made by the other chamber to Bill C-75, an act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other acts and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

After being examined and given thoughtful deliberation in the Senate, the bill has returned to the House of Commons so that we can review the 14 amendments that have been made.

I would first like to thank all members and senators, particularly the members of the committees of both chambers, for their work to reduce the delays in the criminal justice system.

In particular, I would like to thank the chair of the justice committee, as well as the member for West Nova, both of whom gave me critical advice at appropriate moments.

I would also like to thank all of the witnesses who took the time to submit briefs and to appear before the committee, since they expressed very useful views about their experience with the criminal justice system, whether from the perspective of a professional, an accused, a victim or a family member.

Many of these witnesses echoed the concerns expressed by the Supreme Court of Canada in the 2016 Jordan decision.

We all know that delays in the criminal justice system are destructive, and particularly so to some of the most vulnerable members of our society: victims of crime and their loved ones. Delays also impact accused from groups that are overrepresented in the criminal justice system. Of course, the cost of inefficiencies is also borne by taxpayers.

I learned this lesson very early when I was fortunate enough to be a clerk to Justice Peter Cory of the Supreme Court of Canada. At that time, the Askov decision was heard, which was the predecessor to Jordan.

Bill C-75 presents an important opportunity to take concrete action to reduce these delays and respond directly to my mandate. It is the product of significant consultation over many years, and it would modernize the criminal justice system in ways that provinces and territories, which are responsible for the administration of the system, have agreed would improve the efficiency and effectiveness of this system.

All of the proposed amendments have been crafted with a view to the impact they would have on the incarceration rates of indigenous persons and persons who are vulnerable to being overrepresented in the criminal justice system in Canada. Bill C-75 seeks equally to improve the safety of our communities by implementing our government's commitments to toughen criminal laws and bail conditions in cases of intimate partner violence, or IPV, with the goal of keeping women and children safe.

As members will no doubt recall from when the bill passed through this place the first time, it is bold and transformative and contains many much-needed improvements to the criminal justice system. Today I will provide a general overview of the key areas of criminal law reform contained in Bill C-75, as well as some details on the amendments proposed by the other place.

First, I want to talk about the modernization and simplification of the bail provisions.

All stakeholders support the bill's proposal to modernize and simplify the interim release provisions. Everyone agrees that these reforms need to be made right away. This critical modernization of the interim release provisions will be the most comprehensive reform in 45 years. It will strengthen the key principles of interim release, which the Supreme Court of Canada has outlined many times, particularly just recently in 2017 in R. v. Antic.

Moreover, these changes are needed to reduce the overrepresentation of indigenous people and individuals from vulnerable populations in the criminal justice system. I look forward to the addition to the Criminal Code of the proposed requirement that particular attention be given to the circumstances of aboriginal accused in interim release decisions.

The other place proposed a slight change to the interim release provisions in the bill in response to the March 2019 Supreme Court ruling in R. v. Myers. The Court stated that the detention review under section 525 of the Criminal Code must be an automatic procedure whether the delay was unreasonable or not. This ruling raised some concerns in Quebec over the court of competent jurisdiction to hear these cases, given the unique way the term “judge” is defined for Quebec for the purposes of these interim release hearings.

Amendment 2 would uphold the current definition of this term for Quebec, but will add that only a judge from the Court of Québec may conduct a detention review, except in the case of a decision on the detention issued by the Superior Court of Quebec.

I urge all hon. members to support amendment 2 from the other place since it gives Quebec greater discretion to guarantee more effective use of judicial resources.

The bill amendments are also instrumental in increasing the safety of all women and girls, including indigenous women and girls. Specifically, they would require a justice to consider whether an accused would be charged with an offence involving IPV against an intimate partner when determining whether to release or detain the accused.

The amendments would also require courts to consider the criminal record of the accused, including prior convictions and the context of the offence. In cases where an accused who had a prior conviction for violence against an intimate partner is facing new charges for IPV, a reverse onus would be imposed on the accused at bail, meaning that the burden would shift to the accused to justify why the accused should not be detained pending trial.

Bill C-75 proposes other amendments in relation to ensuring that convictions for violence against intimate partners are taken seriously at the sentencing stage.

As passed by this place, Bill C-75 would modernize the current aggravating sentencing factor in the Criminal Code to ensure it would concur with our current understanding of IPV and would specify that it would apply to both current and former intimate partners, as well as the more modern conception of intimate partnerships, including dating partnerships. It would also allow for the possibility of seeking a higher maximum penalty in cases involving a repeat IPV offender.

Informed by the testimony of the commissioners of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, the other place's amendments 6 and 7 would strengthen these amendments to ensure that violence against indigenous women and girls would be treated all the more seriously at sentencing. The other place's amendment 6 would create a new sentencing objective in the Criminal Code that would direct a court to give primary consideration to the objectives of denunciation and deterrence for an IPV offence, in particular where the victim is vulnerable on the basis of sex or is an indigenous person.

The other place's amendment 7 would expand Bill C-75's aggravating factor to include IPV committed against a member of the offender's or the victim's family and would create a new sentencing principle that would require a court imposing a sentence for an IPV offence to consider the increased vulnerability of female victims, giving particular attention to the circumstances of aboriginal female victims.

I support these amendments, with a minor modification to the other place's amendment 6 to remove the concept of IPV and replace the reference to a person's sex with reference to personal circumstances and to specifically refer to aboriginal women. This would assist in ensuring judges take into account the increased vulnerability of indigenous women as victims for all offences.

It is also timely in that it would address some of the recommendations in the recently released missing and murdered indigenous women and girls report, recommendations 5.17 and 5.18. Moreover, these amendments would address some of the concerns noted by the Supreme Court of Canada in its recent Barton decision, where the court noted that indigenous women faced injustices in all areas of the criminal justice system as well as extremely high rates of violence.

I acknowledge that some may question these two amendments, given that the House did not support Bill S-215 at second reading. Bill S-215's proposed aggravating factors would have applied to only a few offences. This other place's amendment also differs from Bill S-215 in that it would apply to a broader group of victims. It would directly call on the court to consider the vulnerability of female victims, with particular attention to the circumstances of aboriginal female victims. In contrast, Bill S-215 was limited to the fact that the victim was a female person who was Indian, Inuit or Métis.

The second element is enhancing the existing approach to administration of justice offences, including for offences committed by youth. The judicial referral hearing procedure proposed in Bill C-75 is another positive reform aimed at diverting less serious, non-violent cases from the courts so that they may be dealt with more efficiently. This approach will also help reduce the overrepresentation of indigenous people and other marginalized groups in the criminal justice system, who are overrepresented among those accused of administration of justice offences.

This area of reform was recommended in the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs' final report entitled “Delaying Justice is Denying Justice: An Urgent Need to Address Lengthy Court Delays in Canada”, given the significant number of cases involving administration of justice offences in the system and the pressure they cause. It is harder for the accused to break the cycle of crime because of these offences.

The bill gives police officers and prosecutors a new tool that allows them to ask judges to review all bail conditions that apply to the accused. This allows for an assessment of the reasonableness of the conditions and helps promote a culture change encouraging criminal justice professionals to play an active role in reversing the upward trend in the number of charges related to administration of justice offences, when other kinds of offences are declining.

The third point is on restricting the availability of preliminary inquiries to the most serious offences. As introduced, Bill C-75 proposed to restrict the availability of preliminary inquiries to indictable offences punishable by life imprisonment, roughly 70 offences. The other place agreed that these offences should automatically include a preliminary inquiry.

However, it also expanded their availability on a discretionary basis to all other indictable offences with a maximum penalty of less than life imprisonment, which would have been an additional 393 offences. As per the other place's amendment, preliminary inquiries would be available in two circumstances: first, where one or both parties requested one; and, second, a justice was satisfied that certain criteria were met, namely that appropriate measures were taken to mitigate the impacts on victims for both approaches and, where it was on the request of one party, that it was also in the best interest of the administration of justice.

The amendment responded to concerns that preliminary inquiries were not available for more and serious offences. However, the expansion of their availability, combined with the new complex criteria, would lead, in our view, to further delays and unnecessary litigation; for example, to interpret the proper application of the criteria.

Recognizing, however, that the other place's amendment was motivated by continuing concerns by the legal community and others, I proposed to not accept the other place's amendments 3 and 4 as drafted, but to revise the bill's original approach to make preliminary inquiries also available for offences with a maximum penalty of 14 years, for example, sexual assault with a weapon.

Although this would expand the availability of preliminary inquiries for 86 more offences, the proposal is consistent with the 2017 FPT ministers of justice's consensus to restrict them to offences carrying the most serious terms of imprisonment. A 14-year threshold will still provide certainty and will avoid the delays inherent in the other place's amendment.

I hope you will all will join me in supporting this amendment, as it strikes an important balance in what is a long-standing, contentious debate regarding preliminary inquiries.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

10:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I would ask the hon. minister to direct his comments to the Chair. When one says “you” in this place, of course, one is usually referring to the Chair. I would ask him to keep that in mind.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

10:10 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Mr. Speaker, I hope that everyone in this House will join me.

The fourth element is on reclassification of offences. Reclassification of offences is another key element of Bill C-75 that will modernize and streamline the Criminal Code and promote a more efficient and economical use of judicial resources.

Hybridizing offences that are punishable by a maximum penalty of two, five and 10 years' imprisonment gives the provinces and territories greater flexibility to match their resources to the cases based on the offender's circumstances and the gravity of the case.

However, this reclassification would not change the fundamental sentencing principles. The classification reforms do not reduce penalties. Serious offences will continue to be treated seriously by the courts.

The other place's amendments 1, 10, 11, 13 and 14 are about the reclassification of offences and touch on areas for which witnesses expressed concerns about amendments potentially having unintended consequences.

Amendment 1 would allow a court to order DNA sampling for offences punishable by five and 10 years' imprisonment. Bill C-75 would hybridize those offences, and DNA orders are already issued for them. This amendment is consistent with the objectives of the bill, and I urge the House to join me in supporting it.

I would also urge the House to join me in supporting amendment 11, which would amend the Identification of Criminals Act to state that a person accused of a hybrid offence can be fingerprinted even if the prosecutor opts to proceed by way of summary conviction.

Amendments 13 and 14 are consequential amendments relating to the coming-into-force date of the specified provision if amendment 12 is agreed to.

The other place's amendment 10 attempts to respond to concerns that a number of stakeholders made regarding the unintended impact of Bill C-75's proposed amendments to increase the maximum penalty for most Criminal Code offences with a summary conviction penalty to two years less a day.

Currently section 802.1 makes clear that agents, including law students, articling students, paralegals and others, cannot appear in summary conviction proceedings where the maximum term of imprisonment is greater than six months, unless the agent is authorized under a program approved by the lieutenant governor in council of the province or the accused is an organization.

The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights amended section 802.1 to allow provinces and territories to establish criteria in addition to their existing authority to approve programs, authorizing agents to appear in summary conviction proceedings where the maximum penalty was more than six months and to allow agents to attend court in place of the accused to seek an adjournment of the proceeding on all summary conviction matters without prior authorization.

These amendments maintain jurisdictional flexibility in this area of criminal procedure while also recognizing regional diversity and how legal representation is regulated across Canada.

The proposed other place's amendment would add a provision that would also allow agents to appear where they are authorized to do so under the law of a province. We are concerned that there might be unintended results to this amendment. As I stated earlier, this bill is the product of considerable consultation with provinces and territories and there has not been sufficient time to analyze and ascertain what the effect of this amendment would be under existing provincial and territorial laws.

Moreover, provinces and territories already have flexibility to quickly address any consequences of the reclassification scheme on agents through the amendments made to the bill in this place last December. Using the proposed new power to do this through criteria or a program established by the lieutenant governor in council is a much faster process than legislative reform.

For these reasons, we do not support the other place's amendment 10.

The fifth element is about strengthening case management. Bill C-75 will strengthen Criminal Code provisions to improve case management.

The sixth element is about improving the jury selection process. Bill C-75 will also improve the jury selection process by eliminating the potentially discriminatory use of peremptory challenges, making the selection process more transparent, promoting fairness and impartiality and making jury trials more efficient in general.

The seventh key area was implementing other additional efficiencies. One of the most widely supported aspects of the bill is the promotion of additional efficiencies, including through the use of technology where available to facilitate remote appearances.

Bill C-75 also includes reforms proposed in three bills that were previously introduced as separate bills: Bill C-28, victim surcharge; Bill C-38, exploitation and trafficking in persons, and Bill C-39, repeal of provisions ruled unconstitutional.

The other place's amendments 5, 8 and 9 respond to the December 14, 2018, decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Boudreault, which struck down the provisions in the Criminal Code related to the federal victim surcharge, used by provinces and territories to partially fund their victim services.

The other place's amendments re-enact a new victim surcharge regime that requires the imposition of a surcharge in all cases, but provides greater judicial discretion to depart from imposing the surcharge in appropriate cases, in order to address the concerns of the Supreme Court decision.

I believe the victim surcharge amendments will restore the necessary judicial discretion to ensure that the sentence imposed in each case is fit and proportionate. I urge this House to join me in supporting these amendments. These are changes that I know my provincial and territorial colleagues are awaiting.

In conclusion, as we can see, this bill contains a number of crucial measures to reduce delays in the criminal justice system. These measures will help modernize and simplify the system, while at the same time providing additional safeguards for vulnerable victims and restoring the ability to collect the federal victim surcharge.

Last, but not least, these amendments represent an important step towards reversing the historically disproportionate impact of the criminal justice system on indigenous peoples and marginalized peoples.

We must work together to ensure that this bill is passed before we adjourn for the summer.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

10:20 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the minister on his speech. I agree, on behalf of the NDP, with the thrust of his remarks with respect to the Senate amendments made to Bill C-75, certainly with respect to intimate partner violence and the bail reform provisions and, in particular, the section 802.1 where law students and agents will again be able to represent people fully in summary conviction matters. I think these are all really important matters and I agree with him.

However, surely, if the issue is about the Askov and Jordan delay principles, the elephant in the room would be the fact that the government has failed to follow up on the Prime Minister's commitment to address to the minister, in the mandate letter, the minimum mandatory sentences provisions. I agree with him that we have a crisis in the over-incarceration of indigenous people, eight times as many indigenous men per capita, 12 times as many women.

Jonathan Rudin and others who work with Aboriginal Legal Services, say that there has to be a change in the mandatory minimum provisions if we are going to change that. Why does the government not get that?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

10:20 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his work on the justice committee on this bill and other bills.

With great deference, I took over the bill at a certain stage at which the point on mandatory minimums had already been settled for the time being. I have committed publicly in front of the justice committee, as well as publicly in other places and I am willing to do so in this House, hopefully remaining in this position moving forward, that I will make the study of mandatory minimum penalties a priority for myself.

That being said, we have taken on other provisions in this reform, particularly the reforms we are making to the administration of justice, which can be a revolving door for indigenous persons in Canada. By regulating those administrative law offences, I think we have addressed a great deal of the question for indigenous peoples. Certainly, we will monitor the situation, the mise en oeuvre of this bill on the ground, once it gets enacted into legislation and we will be open to future reform.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

10:20 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Hoback Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, one thing about the Conservatives is we stand for the rights and concerns of the victims over the concerns of the criminals. I would ask the minister this. How can he justify the watering-down of offences such as impaired driving that causes bodily harm, the use of the date-rape drug or human trafficking? How can he justify the changes in these areas that make it less offensive or less of a consequence for people to participate in these types of crimes?

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

10:25 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. It is good to interact with him again after our first year in trade.

I would reject the premise of the question in the sense that we have created a number of hybrid offences that could be prosecuted either by way of summary procedure or indictable offence. We leave that discretion up to the Crown prosecutors as they move forward, but that is not to say that we are treating any of these offences any more lightly. Serious offences will be treated seriously. Depending on the facts of the case, the prosecutor will decide whether to proceed by way of indictment or by way of summary offence. The option to use the summary offence is there to accelerate the system to make it more efficient where the nature of the facts are such that the offence perhaps is not as serious. However, serious criminality will always be taken seriously under this and the procedure by way of indictment still remains.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

10:25 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I share the concerns of the hon. member for Victoria. We are still hampered in our criminal justice system by a series of mandatory minimums that we know have been found, by any criminology or empirical evidence, to absolutely not be effective and are a burden on the justice system. In this reform, we had hoped to see that.

I have a private member's bill, should the Minister of Justice want to look at it, which enumerates all of the mandatory minimums brought in in the 41st Parliament so that, in one piece of legislation, we could remove them all. Since the Minister of Justice has undertaken to study the matter, I wanted to draw to his attention the existence of my private member's bill and I hope that we can do more.

Also, I put forward about 46 or 47 amendments at committee around certain aspects of vulnerable populations. I know the Senate has made a number of helpful amendments. I think the bill could still be much improved, although some of the Senate amendments go some distance toward what I was trying to do in clause-by-clause. Therefore, I would appreciate any comments from the Minister of Justice.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

10:25 p.m.

Liberal

David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was not the person shepherding the bill during the proceedings in front of the justice committee in this place. That being said, I did work with the Senate committee quite closely with respect to the amendments proposed on IPV and vulnerable victims, in particular, indigenous women.

I will take the member's suggestion on minimum mandatory penalties and undertake to look at whatever she proposes.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

10:25 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister of Justice. He has done a tremendous job on not only this but also the judicial appointments, and looking at improving efficiency and effectiveness in our judicial system.

During his presentation, when talking about the Senate amendments, the minister made comments about expanding preliminary inquiries to 14 years, which used to only be for more serious offences. Could he comment on how he has taken the amendment from the Senate and made a suggestion toward 14 years and how he came to that?