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37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights


EVIDENCE

CONTENTS

Wednesday, November 6, 2002




¹ 1535
V         The Clerk of the Committee
V         Mr. Derek Lee (Scarborough—Rouge River, Lib.)
V         The Clerk
V         Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, Canadian Alliance)
V         The Clerk
V         Ms. Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre, Lib.)
V         The Clerk
V         Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères—Les-Patriotes, BQ)
V         The Clerk
V         Mr. Richard Marceau (Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, BQ)
V         The Clerk
V         Mr. Richard Marceau
V         The Clerk
V         
V         Ms. Hedy Fry
V         Mr. Derek Lee

¹ 1540
V         
V         The Chair (Mr. Andy Scott (Fredericton, Lib.))
V         Mr. Peter Stoffer (Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NDP)

¹ 1545
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Derek Lee
V         The Chair
V         Ms. Carole-Marie Allard (Laval East, Lib.)
V         The Chair
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Derek Lee
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Derek Lee

¹ 1550
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Derek Lee
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Richard Marceau
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Derek Lee
V         Mr. Richard Marceau
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Derek Lee
V         Mr. Richard Marceau
V         Mr. Derek Lee
V         The Chair

¹ 1555
V         Mr. John McKay (Scarborough East, Lib.)
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Richard Marceau
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC)
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Peter MacKay
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Peter Stoffer
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Kevin Sorenson
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Kevin Sorenson
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Peter Stoffer
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Peter Stoffer
V         The Chair

º 1600
V         Mr. Richard Marceau
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Paul Harold Macklin (Northumberland, Lib.)
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Paul Harold Macklin
V         Mr. Kevin Sorenson
V         Mr. Paul Harold Macklin
V         The Chair










CANADA

Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights


NUMBER 001 
l
2nd SESSION 
l
37th PARLIAMENT 

EVIDENCE

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

¹  +(1535)  

[English]

+

    The Clerk of the Committee: Honourable members of the committee, I see a quorum.

    The first order of business is, pursuant to Standing Order 106(1) and (2), the election of a chair. I'm ready to entertain a motion to that effect.

    Mr. Lee.

+-

    Mr. Derek Lee (Scarborough—Rouge River, Lib.): I'd like to nominate the Honourable Andy Scott to be chair of the justice committee.

    (Motion agreed to)

+-

    The Clerk: Before I invite Mr. Scott to the chair, pursuant to the new standing orders, I am to preside over the election of vice-chairs. I'll take nominations for a vice-chair, either government or opposition.

+-

    Mr. Kevin Sorenson (Crowfoot, Canadian Alliance): I would enter the name of Chuck Cadman for vice-chair.

+-

    The Clerk: Are there any other nominations?

+-

    Ms. Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre, Lib.): I nominate John McKay.

+-

    The Clerk: We'll do it one at a time if you don't mind.

    Are there any other nominations for the opposition?

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Stéphane Bergeron (Verchères—Les-Patriotes, BQ): I was going to nominate Mr. Marceau, but...

+-

    The Clerk: So, Mr. Bergeron nominates Mr. Marceau.

+-

    Mr. Richard Marceau (Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, BQ): You did not ask us if we accepted the nomination.

+-

    The Clerk: Do you accept your nomination?

+-

    Mr. Richard Marceau: No.

+-

    The Clerk: You do not. Thank you, Mr. Marceau.

    So, to recapitulate, are there any other nominations for the position of vice-chairman for the opposition?

[English]

+-

     Nominations are closed, and the motion is that Mr. Cadman be elected vice-chair.

    (Motion agreed to)

    The Clerk: We'll now proceed to the election of a vice-chair for the government side.

    Madam Fry.

[Translation]

+-

    Ms. Hedy Fry: I nominate John McKay.

[English]

+-

    Mr. Derek Lee: I nominate Ivan Grose.

    The Clerk: If there are no other nominations, we will now proceed by secret ballot. My colleague and I will distribute the ballots on either side, and you will be invited to come to the front and deposit them in the ballot box that will be located here.

¹  +-(1540)  

+-

     Mr. McKay is elected vice-chair, for the government.

    I now invite Mr. Scott to take the chair.

+-

    The Chair (Mr. Andy Scott (Fredericton, Lib.)): Okay, the picnic is over.

    Thank you.

    Mr. Stoffer.

+-

    Mr. Peter Stoffer (Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NDP): Mr. Chairman, I move that the ballots be destroyed.

¹  +-(1545)  

+-

    The Chair: It has been moved that the ballots be destroyed.

+-

    Mr. Derek Lee: It has already been provided for in the standing order.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Stoffer, for keeping us on our toes.

    I guess we have some routine business to do first.

+-

    Ms. Carole-Marie Allard (Laval East, Lib.): Mr. Chair, I have a demand. I would like you to be soft on the work we have to do, because this committee is sitting too much.

+-

    The Chair: In the words of a great parliamentarian, get used to it.

    On the matter of routine motions, there are a number of items that we need to touch on.

    I'll read the first one and then ask for a mover: That the clerk of the committee be authorized to distribute to the members of the committee documents only when they exist in both official languages.

    Mr. Derek Lee: Moved.

    (Motion agreed to)

    The Chair: Secondly, that the clerk of the committee be authorized to make the necessary arrangements to provide for working meals for the committee.

    Mr. Derek Lee: So moved.

    Ms. Hedy Fry: As long as they're not sandwiches....

    The Chair: The chair disregards the amendments and we are moving forward.

    (Motion agreed to)

    The Chair: Next, that, unless otherwise ordered, each committee member be allowed to have one staff person present at in camera meetings.

    Mr. Derek Lee: So moved.

    (Motion agreed to)

    The Chair: That one copy of the transcript of all in camera meetings be kept at the committee clerk's office for consultation by members of the committee.

    Mr. Ivan Grose (Oshawa, Lib.): Moved.

    (Motion agreed to)

    The Chair: That, except for amendments to bills, 48 hours' notice be given before any substantive motion is considered by the committee, and that the motion be filed with the clerk of the committee and circulated to members in both official languages.

    An hon. member: So moved.

    (Motion agreed to)

    The Chair: That the chair be authorized to hold meetings to receive and publish evidence when a quorum is not present provided that at least three members are present, including a member of the opposition.

    An hon. member: So moved.

    (Motion agreed to)

    The Chair: That the committee retain the services of one or more researchers from the Library of Parliament, as needed, to assist the committee in its work, at the discretion of the chair.

    Mr. Derek Lee: So moved.

    (Motion agreed to)

    The Chair: That the chair, the two vice-chairs, the parliamentary secretaries to the Solicitor General and the Minister of Justice, and a representative of the Canadian Alliance, the Bloc Québécois, the New Democratic Party, and the Progressive Conservative Party do compose the subcommittee on agenda and procedure.

    Mr. Derek Lee: So moved.

    (Motion agreed to)

    The Chair: That witnesses be given ten minutes for their opening statement; that, at the discretion of the chair, during the questioning of witnesses, there be allocated seven minutes for the first questioner of each party; and that thereafter three minutes be allocated to each subsequent questioner, alternating between government and opposition parties.

    Mr. Derek Lee: So moved.

    (Motion agreed to)

    The Chair: That, when a private member's business bill is referred to the committee, it be placed on the agenda and that its sponsor be invited to appear before the committee.

    Mr. Derek Lee: So moved.

    (Motion agreed to)

+-

    The Chair: So we have our routine business done.

    I want to bring to the members' attention, and we'll distribute this list of issues for future consideration...

    Yes, Mr. Lee.

+-

    Mr. Derek Lee: On a point of order, this particular issue could engender a little bit of discussion, and there are at least four members here who are needed at another committee. So there is what I regard as another routine motion, regarding the subcommittee on national security.

+-

    The Chair: Yes, Mr. Lee.

    As members would know, in the last Parliament we had a subcommittee on national security. Mr. Lee served as chair of that committee.

    I would entertain a motion, Mr. Lee, if you are so inclined, to reconstitute that subcommittee as a part of this committee.

+-

    Mr. Derek Lee: Sure, I'm happy to move the motion. It's quite long. I would like the record to at least have it. If members want me to read it, I will.

    A voice: It's coming around.

    Mr. Derek Lee: Oh, okay. There's only one word change in it. That would be halfway down from the left-hand--

¹  +-(1550)  

+-

    The Chair: Derek, just wait until everybody gets it before you tell them what the changes are, so they can note them.

    Mr. Derek Lee: I thought it was out.

    The Chair: Okay?

    Go ahead.

+-

    Mr. Derek Lee: From the left-hand margin, it's almost exactly in the middle. It says, “National Security Investigations Branch” and that should read “National Security Investigations Section”. But other than that it's word for word. I won't read it, but I will move it.

    I would just point out that the chairman said there was a subcommittee in the last Parliament. We've had a subcommittee since 1991-92.

[Translation]

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Marceau.

+-

    Mr. Richard Marceau: Mr. Chairman, I simply want to make sure that I understand correctly. Earlier, you mentioned that Mr. Lee was chairman of the subcommittee. We agreed to say that the subcommittee would choose its chairman when it meets, pursuant to yesterday's vote.

[English]

+-

    The Chair: The arrangement was made in the last instance that the subcommittee would not meet concurrent with the meetings of the main committee.

    I would assume, Mr. Lee, that your intention would be to continue in that fashion, since there are so many members on both committees. Is that your intention?

+-

    Mr. Derek Lee: That's correct. I think there was one instance where we felt constraint and we had to, but it was with the acknowledgment of the main committee that we did. But, yes, we would not meet at the same time as the main committee.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Richard Marceau: But that was not the point I made, Mr. Chairman. I simply wanted to ensure that the chairman of the committee will not be designated here, but that he will be chosen by the subcommittee when it meets. That is what I meant.

[English]

+-

    The Chair: My apologies. I should have made that clear. What we're really doing is asking for a committee to be reconstituted, and we would leave it to the committee itself to deal with the question of the election of the chair. That was Mr. Lee's understanding.

+-

    Mr. Derek Lee: Yes.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Richard Marceau: Very well. Thank you.

[English]

+-

    Mr. Derek Lee: Okay, so I'll move the motion.

+-

    The Chair: Are there any other questions?

    (Motion agreed to—See Minutes of Proceedings)

    The Chair: Now, getting back to the issues for future consideration, we have referred to the committee Bill C-231, Lisa's law, previously Bill C-400. We heard witnesses on the bill, but we had not completed consideration by the end of the first session. We are obliged to report back to the House by March 17, 2003.

    Bill C-250, an act to amend the Criminal Code, hate propaganda, was previously Bill C-415. The committee has not begun its consideration of this bill. The committee must report back to the House by March 20, 2003.

    In terms of ongoing work that would be expected of us in the months ahead, we have the main and supplementary estimates, we have the annual and special reports of institutions and agencies within our jurisdiction, the order in council appointments that we will receive from time to time, and any other private members' bills that will come before us.

    There are still some outstanding issues remaining from the first session of the 37th Parliament, the status report by the Correctional Service of Canada, the Parole Board, and the Department of the Solicitor General on the subcommittee that had reviewed the provisions and operation of the CCRA. We didn't get it done during the last Parliament and so it is before us.

    After an in camera review of the Correctional Service report on the 1998 assault on Jeffrey Hearn, the committee submitted a number of written questions to the Commissioner of Corrections, and we await a response.

    The committee received a technical briefing from the Department of Justice officials on blood-alcohol. The study proceeded no further, and that's an outstanding issue before us. The former Minister of Justice asked the committee to review the conditional sentence options in the Criminal Code that were made in Parliament in 1996. That had not begun at the end of the first session of the 37th Parliament.

    If anybody wants to speak up on this, I should also advise the committee that I have been approached by the minister with regard to the provisions having to do with same-sex marriage. And there has been some public discussion around this. I think we have to include that possibility in our thinking.

    John McKay.

¹  +-(1555)  

+-

    Mr. John McKay (Scarborough East, Lib.): I have a point of order. Could we solicit the entire pool of issues to be discussed? I'm assuming that there may be other members who wish to put issues forward before we discuss our priorities.

+-

    The Chair: My intention was to get through this list so that nobody wondered about these. So now I would like everybody to in fact bring forward any ideas that they would have that I have not already mentioned so that we can give this some thought.

    Our next routinely scheduled meeting would be held next Monday afternoon according to our arrangements. Of course, we can modify that in the context of meeting before that. I would suggest that we probably can't modify it in terms of not meeting then.

    Monsieur Marceau.

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Richard Marceau: Mr. Chairman, later, at private members' business, there will be a debate in the House on a motion introduced by a Canadian Alliance colleague concerning a possible review by this committee of appointments to the Supreme Court made by the Prime Minister. Without being in agreement with the motion as a whole, I think that this committee should examine the process used to appoint judges to the various appeal courts and to the Supreme Court of Canada, and take into consideration all possibilities. It seems to me that this would be a very interesting topic for us, and I would like us to include it in the subjects to be considered for future business.

[English]

+-

    The Chair: Any other comment? Mr. MacKay.

+-

    Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC): This is a different matter. Now you're calling for different issues for discussion. This is not on Mr. Marceau's point.

+-

    The Chair: No. Understood. New item.

+-

    Mr. Peter MacKay: I would ask that a full review of the cost effectiveness of the gun registry system be put on for issues remaining to be discussed.

+-

    The Chair: Mr. Stoffer.

+-

    Mr. Peter Stoffer: If I may reiterate something just for a second, although I'm not a regular member of this committee, I would have to concur with my colleague in that regard: it should not be just a fiscal accounting of Bill C-68 but also of the actual reality. We're still getting people saying they applied in March 2001 and they still haven't received their cards, and this is now November 2002.

    There are many aspects of the legislation that are seriously flawed. I think it needs a critical review in order to make recommendations to the government to either improve, dissolve, or make changes to the current legislation.

+-

    The Chair: Can we continue with a list? At some point we'll make decisions about what items we're going to do first and so on, but for the moment we'll just add more items to the list before we get into the substance of which is more important than the others.

    Mr. Sorenson.

+-

    Mr. Kevin Sorenson: I need some clarification. I wasn't aware of the proper process. Do I have to bring a motion? For these issues remaining from the first session to be brought forward again, they'll have to come through another motion, won't they? So that'll be done not today but another time?

+-

    The Chair: Yes. If there's anything that should be on the list that isn't, please put it on the list now.

+-

    Mr. Kevin Sorenson: One of the other things I think as a committee we should be looking into is the whole Kingsclear reformatory/Karl Toft issue in New Brunswick, and I think we're going to be looking for some type of inquiry. This individual has been released now in Edmonton into a halfway house. There have been 200 charges he's owned up to, and I think there are still some questions we want answered on that.

+-

    The Chair: Would anyone else like to contribute to the making of this list?

    Mr. Stoffer.

+-

    Mr. Peter Stoffer: If I may bootleg on one other one, my colleague here--

+-

    The Chair: “Bootleg” isn't a term we like to use in justice.

+-

    Mr. Peter Stoffer: Coming from the east coast of Nova Scotia, it's a word that's commonly used, sir. But basically I would like to add a review of the anti-terrorism legislation, Bill C-36, to see how that's working.

+-

    The Chair: Actually, the statutory review would take place in early 2003. That's a good point.

    There being no additional items, what I would suggest is that the clerk will make available to the members those that I've mentioned and those that have been added, and we should be prepared to make decisions in terms of the priorities we choose, because clearly we're going to have to do some more quickly than others. So I would ask all members to come back to our next meeting prepared to do that.

    Mr. Marceau.

º  -(1600)  

[Translation]

+-

    Mr. Richard Marceau: I only have one question to ask and it concerns our next meeting. As a general rule, as chair, what are the days on which you would like us to sit, and how frequently?

[English]

+-

    The Chair: I understand that House leaders have picked Monday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. and Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. as the times when this committee would get preferred treatment, if I can refer to it that way. If the committee decides we don't have enough time to get our work done with those two slots, we are entitled or allowed to do more than that, notwithstanding Madame Allard's comments. But we just don't get a preferred slot when that happens.

    My sense is that given the enthusiasm that all these members have taken to their work, I'm guessing two days a week or two slots a week probably won't be enough. Our next scheduled meeting is Monday afternoon. I think we'll need some time to react to everything we've heard today and get over the celebration of all of our elections and so on. So next Monday afternoon we'll have to be prepared to make some decisions, if that's okay.

    Mr. Macklin.

+-

    Mr. Paul Harold Macklin (Northumberland, Lib.): Not next Monday, but Monday, November 18.

+-

    The Chair: I'm sorry, Monday, November 18. I'm certain no one was going to show up, but anyway.

    Mr. Macklin.

+-

    Mr. Paul Harold Macklin: I wanted to make sure that all committee members are aware that you're invited to a meeting with the minister for lunch tomorrow at 1 p.m. in room 602. I want to make sure everyone is aware of that because it's very important. We'd like to see everyone there.

+-

    Mr. Kevin Sorenson: Room 602 being the parliamentary restaurant?

+-

    Mr. Paul Harold Macklin: That's right. If you can work it with your party, it's at 1 p.m.

-

    The Chair: If there is no other business to attend to today, please be prepared on Monday afternoon to make some decisions about how we proceed from here.

    I want to thank my mover, and congratulations to Mr. McKay and Mr. Cadman. And I want to thank Mr. Lee for moving my nomination, although I wasn't aware it was because of my suit. Thank you.

    The meeting is adjourned.