House of Commons Hansard #22 of the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was peoples.


Public SafetyAdjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.


Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Madam Speaker, the problem with requiring fear in trafficking cases is that the burden is placed on the victims. A 2013 review of our human trafficking offences highlights that this “standard focuses scrutiny and inquiry on the inner workings of a victim’s mind rather than on a trafficker’s actions and, hence, makes the victim’s testimony crucially important to the case.” It further notes, “Given this complexity in proving exploitation, one can understand why prosecutors have shied away from human trafficking charges or allowed the charge to be dropped in the plea bargain process.” Our laws need to be written in a way that can help the police and prosecutors bring justice to human traffickers instead of being an obstacle.

In the last Parliament, the member for Oshawa tabled a bill that would bring our human trafficking offences in line with the Palermo protocol. Having spoken to law enforcement and NGOs across Canada, I can attest that this is their desire as well.

Would the parliamentary secretary be willing to consider the bill when it comes back to the House, or, even better, would the government bring it forward itself when it brings forward other legislation? From the parliamentary secretary's response, I am not convinced that the government understands the issue.

Public SafetyAdjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.


Chris Bittle Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the passion from the hon. member and that he wants to make it easier to convict people of this heinous crime. There is, however, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the burden of proof, which is “beyond a reasonable doubt”.

Even though we would all like to see the bad people go to jail, we have to ensure that laws are crafted in a way that respects the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That is why I am proud of the government's actions with regard to this heinous crime and the work that is being done.

I would be happy to see recommendations, but they would have to be in line with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Public SafetyAdjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7:24 p.m.)