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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anthony Rota Profile
2019-06-19 23:19 [p.29456]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
I have a couple of things. First, as I said, the bill, despite some extremely minor improvements, will perpetuate the status quo. In fact, I would not be concerned about the bill being scrapped, because the consequence of that would the court's conditions would be imposed on Correctional Service Canada, which are much more restrictive in the use of solitary confinement.
I will go back to the other part of the member's question; I was getting to it at the end of my speech. The concerns raised by corrections officers are certainly valid. At the end of the day, the member from Oakville was correct in pointing out that the cuts they had been subject to was something they continued to have to deal with. Interestingly enough, they are also part of the reason why this practice has perpetuated.
For corrections officers, a decision has to be made about an offender who is causing an issue within the institution. If there is a mental health issue and there are no mental health resources available, or the officers do not have the resources, the only option then is to put the offender in solitary for safety reasons.
I am open to a debate on this. I proposed amendments to eliminate it at women's institutions. There is an argument from the John Howard Society and others that it still has its place in men's institutions. Ultimately, that is the role of judicial oversight. We do recognize there might be an urgency within 24 or 48 hours, maybe even over the span of a couple of days, depending on who is asked or what expert we speak to.
At the end of the day, without the proper oversight, and this bill just does not have it in my estimation, the concerns will still remain. Corrections officers are stuck. They are flying by the seat of their pants, and improvising a little. It is not something they want to do. I do not think this legislation provides them with either the resources or the clarity they seek to do the work they would like to do. Their goal is not to prejudice anyone's rights; it is the contrary. They need our help to do it and they are just not getting it.
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