Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
I just want to make it clear that when this bill comes into effect and then there is a birth afterwards, that wouldn't be caught up in this bill. There would be no offence or anything. I think that's all it is. It's just saying that if the cetacean was pregnant at the time it was kept in captivity. We wouldn't want this bill to come into effect and then six months later a cetacean is born. To me it seems it would run afoul of the wording of the bill.
Do you agree?
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Can I ask for some clarification on that, Mr. Fraser? You said that there are no pregnant cetaceans at the present time. Is that what the fisheries department said? That's not my understanding. There are a number in captivity that are, in fact, pregnant now, and this is just clarification.
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Well, all this is saying is that if they are, in fact, born, they are not caught up in this. I agree with Ms. Klineberg here that this would actually provide some clarification. I don't think this is controversial.
(Amendment negatived)
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
I think that's a pretty reasonable amendment. You want to make sure that anybody who might get charged under this is somebody who really is participating in this for the exact wrong reason. The amendment proposed by my colleague is saying that if somebody has to knowingly get involved with something like this, then somebody who's just being part of an entertainment package, or just wanders into something, shouldn't be convicted of a criminal offence on that.
This will help clarify that. This is good.
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much.
Colleagues, obviously both language versions have to be completely in line with each other. It's not easy to draw up legislation. As our official from the Department of Justice knows, you have two systems of law, civil law and common law, and you have French and English. Getting it right is always a bit of a challenge.
In fact, there are some legal words such as the word “mortgage” in English, in the common law or something, that are not quite the same thing en français. At the same time, this bill has two different versions here, and the amendment is just to try to align them.
I'm not sure if you got this, but there's a letter here from a former justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Major, who had a look at this and said we should make sure we align it.
As it stands now, the version in one language refers to a specific section of the bill and the other one doesn't. Therefore, all we have done here, in collaboration with Mr. Doherty and our colleagues, is come up with a way they will mean the same in both official languages.
It is straightforward, and certainly I hope there is support for it. As I say, it is agreed to by the Honourable Justice Major, formerly of the Supreme Court of Canada. He's the one who was saying, yes, we have to do this.
It sometimes happens. We've all encountered this, but a simple amendment here to make it coordinate is all we're asking for at this point in time and it's an important thing to do. We can't have a bill that's different in each of the official languages.
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
The amendment is that Bill S-203, in clause 4, be amended by replacing, in the French version, line 8 on page 3 with the following:
7.1 Il est interdit, sans licence délivrée en vertu du paragraphe 10(1.1) ou contrairement à celle—
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
I just want to read you one paragraph for the record, and I'd like to hear the opinion of Ms. Klineberg.
The letter from Justice Major says:
Section 7.1 of Bill S-203 is an enforcement provision under the Act. Given the conflict in the English and French versions of the proposed legislation its passage without a clarification amendment would, in the event of an illegal violation and subsequent prosecution, present a dilemma to the court. An obvious example being that an application under the English version would be required to meet the conditions set out in s. 10(1.1) whereas an application adhering to the French version would not. In the result the same law would be different depending on the site of the application. Should a charge be laid under the proposed Section 7.1 the difficulty described would be left to the court then to attempt a reconciliation of the conflict in the language and if not possible to strike down the section and order an acquittal.
I think that's very clear.
Ms. Klineberg, I don't know whether you have had a chance to compare both versions here, but Justice Major is saying that we should do what we have to do to make them coincide with each other and not just take a chance and have this dilemma presented to the courts.
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Don't you think, though, it's a bit unusual that in the English version it specifically references a particular section in an act, yet there is no reference in the French? Whether we're drafting things through the Criminal Code or policy and everything else, wouldn't it make sense that, if the English refers to a specific section that has to be adhered to, the French be amended to say the same thing?
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Well, you heard what Justice Major says, and he—
An hon. member: What does he know?
Hon. Rob Nicholson: Well, when you've been on the Supreme Court for quite a time, you do develop some expertise or you bring your expertise to the role here. It seems to me a fairly straightforward thing just to make sure they both coincide with the exact wording. I don't know.
(Amendment negatived)
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Again, the differences between the French and English are referring to subsection 10(1.1), All we would be doing is removing that from the English version so that it would be identical to the French version here. I'm not quite sure why that would be controversial for anyone, but there you have it. It would bring them both into line.
That's all we were trying to do with the previous one, but this is the English version of it. Okay, remove subsection 10(1.1) from there so it will be identical. This is, I think, our job. That's what we have to do.
(Amendment negatived)
(Clause 4 agreed to)
(On clause 5)
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, if you don't mind, I'd like to propose a subamendment to that and I'm sure this will be well received by the committee, “That this act come into force on January 1, 2021.”
The reason for that is if this bill comes into effect in the next month or so, the pregnancy period of these cetaceans is, many times, about 18 months. If you're going to ask them to start splitting up, as they do in a place such as Marineland, where you have to start separating them all so none of them gets pregnant, that will be the law and that's fine. However, for those times that the whale or dolphin is pregnant already, they need 18 months, so we don't want to have a situation where charges are being laid because a cetacean is born 14 or 15 months from now.
That would be helpful. It wouldn't be inconsistent with the intent of the bill, but it would come into effect on January 1, 2021.
That is my subamendment.
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Let's go with three fives, Mr. Chair.
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Chair, thank you very much.
Thank you all for your testimony here. What you had to say, Dr. Graham, was very significant with respect to the extinction of a particular species here because more effort wasn't made to do what we can to help them repopulate.
Mr. Burns, you said that if a beluga whale is pregnant and gives birth after the implementation of this bill, those who are there at Marineland and other places immediately face criminal charges.
If they postponed the enactment of this, how would that change? Don't these whales get pregnant on a regular basis?
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