Madam Speaker, I would like to ask the member what he thinks about the jury selection items in the bill.
First, I want to make a comment. I want to make sure that the public is aware, and I am a layperson, too. There seems to be some indication that some people think that this would reduce the maximum sentences. There is nothing in this bill that reduces maximum sentences. The judges still have access to all the same maximum sentences, and they still have access to indictment. In fact, certain summary offence penalties have actually increased.
My question is related to jury selection. Peremptory challenges are proposed to be removed. For the person in the street, a peremptory challenge means that when people line up to be jurors, the defence lawyer or the prosecutor can say, “Oh, I don't like that one” and throw them out for no reason at all. Does that sound like natural justice? This has been an issue for decades. It is being removed, and that could actually be used to increase diversity.
Also in the bill is that judges can stand aside certain jurors to obtain diversity, and they can decide on challenges for cause, to make sure that if the defence or the prosecutor is suggesting that someone leave for a certain cause, the judge can decide on that.
I think these are improvements, but I would like to hear the member's thoughts on these proposed changes.