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JUST Committee Meeting

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Meeting No. 41
Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness met at 9:04 a.m. this day, in Room 237-C Centre Block, for the purpose of electing a Chair, pursuant to Standing Order 106(2).


Members of the Committee present: Garry Breitkreuz, Joe Comartin, Hon. Roy Cullen, Hon. Paul Harold Macklin, John Maloney, Richard Marceau, Serge Ménard, Anita Neville, Hon. Judy Sgro, Myron Thompson, Vic Toews and Mark Warawa.


In attendance: Library of Parliament: Philip Rosen, Principal; Robin MacKay, Analyst.


Appearing: Hon. Irwin Cotler, Minister of Justice.


Witnesses: Department of Justice: John Sims, Deputy Minister and Deputy Attorney General; Bill Pentney, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy Sector.

The Clerk of the Committee presided over the election of a Chair.

On motion of Anita Neville, it was agreed, — That John Maloney be elected Chair of the Committee.


At 9:07 a.m., the Committee continued sitting televised.

Pursuant to Standing Order 81(4), the Committee commenced consideration of the Main Estimates 2005-2006: Votes 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 50 under JUSTICE, referred to the Committee on Friday, February 25, 2005.

Minister Cotler made a statement and, with the other witnesses, answered questions.


At 11:05 a.m., the sitting was suspended.

At 11:11 a.m., the sitting resumed.

The Committee proceeded to the consideration of matters related to Committee business.

Richard Marceau moved, — That the Justice Committee, in response to the recent remarks by the Chief Justice of the Appeal Court of Québec, Michel Robert, that it is acceptable to discriminate on the basis of political opinion when appointing candidates to the federal judiciary;

— strongly condemns Michel Robert’s remarks who has failed to abide by the principle of judicial restraint and has threatened the principle of judicial independence and;

— undertakes, pursuant to the study of the process for appointments to the Supreme Court already carried out, a study of the process for all appointing judges within the federal judgeship nomination in order to propose a more transparent process in which there is no form of discrimination – including for reasons of political orientation.


After debate, the question was put on the motion and it was agreed to, by a show of hands: YEAS: 7; NAYS: 4.


Serge Ménard moved, — That the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness recommend;

— That the RCMP, together with the agencies responsible for enforcing the Acts concerned, initiate a campaign to ensure the compliance of the Tobacco Act and the Excise Act, 2001. The campaign must be carried out in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, Akwesasne and Kanesatake from May to September 2005.

— That the RCMP report back to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness by September 30, 2005.

— That the Minister table a progress report to the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness by October 30, 2005.

— That the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness report to the House annually, according to the terms established by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, on the status of cigarette smuggling in Canada.

— And that the Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness report and make recommendations to the House of Commons.

Debate arose thereon.


By unanimous consent, it was agreed, — That consideration of Serge Ménard's motion be postponed until a later date.


At 11:38 a.m., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.


Diane Diotte
Clerk of the Committee

2005/05/30 10:42 a.m.