Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much.
Ms. Burns, let me start with you. You read off some statistics earlier that showed that most of the settlements in property cases or divorce cases don't involve violence. Don't you think that those numbers underestimate how much violence there is? I know that many times lawyers will file for divorce for a one-year separation rather than have the woman testify about how disgustingly she's been treated. Don't you think those statistics are underestimating the level of violence?
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
That leads to my next question, which is for you, Mr. Cheriton.
You said that violence gets reduced when they don't give sole custody, but isn't that why sole custody is generally given in the first place? Isn't it to protect the child against violence, usually promoted by addictions to alcohol and drugs or other issues? Isn't that why many times somebody is given sole custody, because of the danger to the child?
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Do you support the comments that were made earlier? When you were in the audience, you probably heard Professor Irvine saying that, in fact, when you have representation for the child, one way or the other, this in and of itself helps collapse this and bring about an agreement on this, because the child is now represented and gets to have his or her voice heard.
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
The responsibility of any lawyer is to represent the interests of his or her client, which in this case would be a child.
That being said, I know my time is running out.
Ms. Christianson-Wood, I agree with you about changing the wording to “parenting orders” and “parenting time”, as opposed to “custody” and “access”, but then you tossed in a line saying that it might take a generation to sink in. Would you elaborate on that?
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Very good. Thank you very much.
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
I think it is an excellent suggestion here to do this. I think it remedies any of the issues that arose when this was initially proposed. We're completely supportive of it.
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you for your testimony and your illumination of of this, but....
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Ms. Pentz, you were talking about preliminary inquiries, and you gave the example of a case where it was a sexual assault and the preliminary inquiry actually speeded up its resolution.
I have spoken with people who have gone through this process. Sometimes these victims of sexual assault and abuse find that having to go through the preliminary inquiry and then the trial makes them feel that they themselves are, in a sense, put on trial twice. This increases their suffering.
Have those people approached you as to how difficult it is?
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Just one subquestion, with respect to getting rid of the peremptory challenges, you think this will hurt, ultimately, indigenous and racialized people. Is that your stand?
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
What do you mean? I can't understand why you say it sends the wrong message. The message of the reverse onus is to try to protect the victim. I think that's the message of the legislation we're sending out, that we want to better protect this victim of domestic violence.
You say it sends the wrong message out. What is that?
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much.
Thank you, Minister, and thank you to those who are joining you here.
Let me talk just a bit about the procedure and get your thoughts on this. This is a huge bill with a lot of changes to the criminal justice system. It's over 300 pages long and, as you say, it goes into so many different areas. I was somewhat surprised that when we finally started second reading debate, Mr. Cooper, another of our colleagues, and I all got up to speak, and then I was informed I think the next day that time allocation was coming in to shut down the debate.
I'm not going to start arguing about that, but wouldn't you agree, or could we have your support, that this is not something that should take place when it's at third reading? It's important that Parliament debate these different issues and debate not be quickly shut down, because there was no suggestion on, I'm sure, my or Mr. Cooper's part that we were going to somehow keep talking about this ad infinitum.
Your thoughts...?
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you for that, but again, I'm hoping that when the time comes and we do debate it at third reading that the importance of this bill will justify having a considerable debate without cutting it off initially.
With respect to the hybridization of the offences, we're talking about over a hundred proposals to make indictable offences also eligible for summary conviction. I've heard from some people at the provincial level that this may fill up and jam the provincial courts, as opposed to the superior courts, if they opt for the summary conviction, but you say that the provinces were overwhelmingly in support of this. Did they say that formally or was it the result of an informal discussion? Who exactly at the provincial level been pushing for these?
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
I'd be very interested to hear from some of them, because, as I say, I've heard that some of them are quite concerned that the provincial courts will be jammed.
With respect to the clogging up of our courts, if we give this opportunity to somebody participating in a terrorist group, for instance, and if that person has the opportunity to have that reduced to a summary conviction and to have the possibility, I suppose, of even a fine, in one sense I suppose that would speed up the process here. If you're a member of a terrorist group and you get the option of getting a summary conviction, or if somebody says you're going to have to pay $1,000 fine, I could see that, yes, you wouldn't be taking up much time in the court system. You'd say, “Jeepers, give me that one and I'm out of here.”
On the other hand, there are people who would seriously question whether the whole list of these offences are of the type that they should never have the possibility of receiving a summary conviction or a very low penalty, because these offences, in and of themselves, are very serious. Have you been getting any feedback on this, or are are there people talking to you who are supportive of reducing the possibility of these penalties being imposed?
View Rob Nicholson Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, and thank you, Minister.
Your last comment was one of the first things I was going to ask about, with respect to the unified family court. Have you had any uptake or feedback from the provinces with respect to this? Generally this would have to be a consolidation of the courts in a particular area. What have you heard from them so far?
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