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Minutes of Proceedings

42nd Parliament, 1st Session
Meeting No. 55
Monday, March 6, 2017, 3:32 p.m. to 3:56 p.m.
Presiding
Robert Oliphant, Chair (Liberal)

Library of Parliament
• Tanya Dupuis, Analyst
• Dominique Valiquet, Analyst
The Committee proceeded to the consideration of matters related to Committee business.

Motion

Michel Picard moved, — That the Committee report the following to the House in relation to its study of Bill C-226:

The Committee recognizes that impaired driving, either by drugs or alcohol, is a serious issue in need of robust and comprehensive federal action. The Committee recognizes the crucial need to support victims and public safety officers in these cases, and to do so in a way that appropriately balances the public safety of Canadians with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

While the intent behind Bill C-226 is commendable, the Committee has concluded, based on the evidence provided during its study, that the legal problems with the Bill far outweigh the potential salutary effects. The impaired driving provisions are the most heavily litigated in the Criminal Code. As such, changes of this magnitude require a comprehensive and balanced approach to be effective. Based on testimony and briefs from witnesses including the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Canadian Bar Association, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving told the Committee that “Even if all these measures are upheld under The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, they would not have a major impact on impaired driving and related crashes, injuries and deaths.”

In addition, the Committee heard from a number of witnesses that the provisions for stricter mandatory minimum penalties and random breath testing may violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As this was submitted as a private member’s bill, it was not subject to the usual constitutional review conducted by the Department of Justice under the Department of Justice Act. The Committee heard from several expert witnesses who raised concerns about the constitutionality of the legislation, including the Criminal Lawyers’ Association who testified that “there are sections of the bill that are unquestionably unconstitutional.” The Committee therefore cannot say with any degree of certainty that the majority of the provisions included in Bill C-226 would pass constitutional muster.

The Committee therefore requests the Government introduce robust legislative measures to reduce the incidence of impaired driving at the earliest opportunity; however, pursuant to Standing Order 97.1, the Committee recommends that the House of Commons not proceed further with Bill C-226, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (offences in relations to conveyances) and the Criminal Record act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

The question was put on the motion and it was agreed to, by a show of hands: YEAS: 6; NAYS: 2.

Motion

Nicola Di Iorio moved, — That the Committee write to the Minister of Justice regarding the important issues raised by Bill C-226, as well as the Committee’s request that the Government introduce comprehensive and robust legislation on the subject as soon as possible.

The question was put on the motion and it was agreed to, by a show of hands: YEAS: 8; NAYS: 0.

At 3:46 p.m., the sitting was suspended.

At 3:48 p.m., the sitting resumed in camera.

It was agreed, — That the Fifth Report from the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure, which read as follows, be concurred in as amended:

Your Subcommittee met on Wednesday, February 22, 2017, to consider the business of the Committee and agreed to make the following recommendations:

1. That, on Monday, March 6, 2017, the Committee proceed to the consideration of committee business and; that the meeting begin in public.

2. That, notwithstanding the motion adopted by the Committee on Thursday, February 25, 2016, and pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the Committee undertake a study involving no fewer than four and no more than six meetings on the situation of Indigenous inmates and issues with the Release and Re-integration program; that correction officers, Correctional Services of Canada, the Corrections Investigator of Canada, former inmates, members and elders from First Nations, parole officers, academics and content experts be invited as witnesses; that the Committee prepare a report with particular consideration to Indigenous offenders continuing to be released more frequently at statutory release than non-Indigenous offenders and to the reasons most Indigenous offenders did not complete correctional programs before becoming eligible for parole, to resource issues, to access to mental health services; that the Committee make recommendations; that the evidence received by the Committee as part of the briefing on the Annual Report 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 of the Office of the Correctional Investigator be deemed adduced to the Committee’s study and; that the Committee report its findings to the House.

3. That in relation to the Committee’s study on Indigenous inmates and issues with the release and reintegration program, members submit their suggested witnesses to the Clerk no later than Monday, March 20, 2017.

4. That, on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness be invited in relation to the subject matter of the Supplementary Estimates (C) 2016-17, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2) and the Main Estimates 2017-18, pursuant to Standing Order 81(4).

5. That the notice of motion put forward by a member on white-collar crime be debated by the full Committee at its convenience.

It was agreed, — That in relation to the study of Canada's national security framework and the study of Bill C-23, the proposed budget in the amount of $49,904.42, for the Committee’s travel to Washington, D.C., in the Spring of 2017, be adopted.

At 3:56 p.m., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.



Jean-Marie David
Clerk of the Committee