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Results: 1 - 6 of 6
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-11-20 10:21 [p.23584]
Madam Speaker, I thank the minister for her answers.
Since the start of this debate on yet another time allocation motion, several members have commented on the complexity of this bill and the fact that it covers many issues we need to discuss. We should also talk about what is not in the bill. For example, the NDP has talked about how the government broke its promise to deal with mandatory minimum sentences.
The minister thanked the committee for its work. That is great, but the reason the committee took so long and was so thorough and heard from so many witnesses is that the bill is very complex, as I said just now.
I would like the minister to explain why she wants a time allocation motion for such a complex bill.
I spoke during debate on this bill. I had 10 minutes instead of 20. I thought 10 minutes would be enough time to say everything I wanted to say, but before I knew it, the Speaker was raising her hand to signal that my time was up. That is how it goes in the House. The point is, 10 minutes, even 20 minutes, is not enough time to talk about everything in this bill.
How can the minister suggest that all parliamentarians will have enough time to dig into this extremely important and complex issue if there is a time allocation motion and so little debate?
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-11-08 10:54 [p.23431]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-75. This is a very large, very complex bill that touches on many important issues related to our justice system.
Obviously, I will not have enough time today to cover every element of the bill, so I will just focus on the aspects that interest me the most. However, I want to start by giving some background on the events that led to this bill and how it concerns my constituents.
As we know, Bill C-75 is a response to the Jordan decision, in which the courts ruled that there were unacceptable trial delays and that proceedings would now be terminated after a certain time frame. This was concerning to my constituents and to all MPs, especially those from Quebec, because we have seen several troubling cases in Quebec. In some cases, people charged with horrific crimes have been freed because of Jordan. These have been sordid and disturbing cases for the affected communities.
The Jordan decision seeks to address major issues, particularly with respect to services to indigenous peoples and the administration of justice. This is essential for maintaining public confidence in the justice system, especially the confidence of people who have asked me about many disturbing, high-profile cases. It is essential because the justice system cannot function properly without maintaining public confidence.
If I can wear my public safety critic hat for a moment, I would say the same is true in many situations involving public safety. This is not just about the justice system, but also the correctional system and police forces or national security agencies, which also play a role here.
Given the importance of maintaining public confidence, this bill had to be thoroughly reviewed. On that I want to commend my seat mate, the hon. member for Victoria, who was one of the finalists in the hardest working category of the Parliamentarians of the Year Awards, and rightly so. It is not difficult to understand why when we read a bill like this one, because these are extremely complicated matters that require rigorous review.
We must also exercise caution in political debate. To prevent undermining public confidence, we do not want the procedures and the implementation of these measures to be tainted by partisanship. This cannot be repeated often enough.
In this context, the objective of the bill in question is primarily to reduce legal delays. There are several positive elements, but some flaws as well, and although my time is limited, I would like to address some of them.
The first element, mandatory minimum sentencing, is the most important. This type of sentencing became singularly common during the last Parliament under the majority Conservative government. However, this policy failed, not just in Canada, but in the United States as well, where even very right-wing Republican legislators realized that it did nothing for public safety.
Mandatory minimum sentencing is imposed on judges by law to punish all sorts of crimes, which are often horrible. This creates a number of problems. The first obvious problem is that it eliminates judicial discretion, which weakens our judicial system. Also, mandatory minimum sentences are often intended to punish crimes that are driven by other social factors. We are therefore exacerbating troubling social phenomena, such as the overrepresentation of members of racialized populations or indigenous people in the prison and legal systems.
Some crimes, like drug possession and use, are public health issues and not law and order issues. We cannot minimize how important these issues are.
The facts, from Canada and elsewhere, show three things. First is obviously the social impact, as I just explained. Second is that, on several occasions, the courts struck down some of the legislation that was passed during the previous Parliament. For example, they threw out the Conservative provisions around mandatory minimums. Third, the mandatory minimums did not achieve the goals of increasing public safety, putting dangerous criminals behind bars and reducing recidivism rates.
I brought up this issue in reference to the previous government. What does this have to do with this bill introduced by the current Liberal government? During the previous Parliament, a number of Liberal members spoke out against such policies. At the time, the Minister of Justice and other members of the current government said loud and clear that this was an issue that needed to be fixed quickly. Now, we see that Bill C-75, which they already took far too long to introduce, does nothing to address this issue, even though the Liberals have been in government for three years.
My colleague from Edmonton Strathcona raised the issue with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice earlier today. The parliamentary secretary responded that it was an issue the government was seized with. The time for considering this issue is long past, which has become a trend with this government. This policy was doomed to fail even before the Liberals were elected, because it penalizes the people we want to help out of poverty so that they can contribute to their communities and our society. The Liberals missed an opportunity to fix this very important issue that has been around for a long time.
Certain U.S. states that lean heavily Republican, commonly known as red states, have observed over the course of many years that this policy is doomed to failure. If they have been able to see this, I think a supposedly progressive government should be able to see it too. These judicial reforms have been too long in the making, and I hoped this bill would take care of the problem, but sadly not. As has happened far too often since this government was elected, we will have to look to the Senate for a solution. An excellent bill has been proposed by Senator Kim Pate to address the issue of mandatory minimum sentences. That bill is one to keep an eye on. All in all, the government has missed an opportunity.
I want to talk about another element of the bill, namely hybrid offences. This is a very important part of the bill because it should help speed up the administration of justice. However, we have learned that this measure could increase the burden on the provinces. It is important to remember that the provinces are responsible for the administration of justice.
Representatives of the Quebec bar told the committee that it is not so concerning for them, because Quebec already has a very robust justice system that gives the prosecutor significant discretion. The Crown works hard to assess cases appropriately in order to prevent a backlog and minimize delays in the justice system.
When we are placing an additional burden on the provinces and have to rely on the provincial governments' goodwill, it is a sign that the federal government has a lot of work to do to make all this easier. Obviously, Bill C-75 does not really achieve that objective.
Unfortunately, it looks like my time is up. There were other elements I would have liked to address. This is, of course, a very large and complicated bill. The Liberals missed an opportunity to carry out the necessary administrative reforms to our justice system.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-11-08 11:06 [p.23432]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.
We do in fact support those aspects of the bill. Since the devil is in the details, we will obviously have to see how those things will be implemented. The case my colleague mentioned is indeed very troubling. The matter of representation of indigenous peoples and racialized groups on juries in Canada must be resolved.
On the flip side, this bill does not fully resolve the issues related to mandatory minimum sentencing and all of the other aspects of the justice system that lead to an overrepresentation of vulnerable people in the correctional and justice systems.
It would be disingenuous of me to say anything other than the fact that I appreciate my colleague's goodwill. I do not want to diminish the importance of consultation, but I think that after being in office for a number of years now, the government could have done more to remedy the problems that perpetuate these social injustices. The bill contains good measures, but obviously more needs to be done.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-11-08 11:08 [p.23433]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.
I share her dismay at the thought of women losing custody of their children because of a law whose mandatory minimum sentences were ruled inappropriate by several courts.
As she correctly pointed out, it was in the mandate letters, and more consultation is needed. In addition to the court rulings, we can consider the facts themselves: this policy has not achieved the desired outcomes, it has not ensured public safety, and it has not reduced recidivism. In some cases, it has had the opposite effect. The facts are very clear.
I think everyone involved, those from civil society especially, agrees with us. That is why the Prime Minister wisely included this directive in the mandate letters. Now we are asking the government to do the right thing by implementing this new policy and putting an end to provisions brought in by the Conservative government.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-11-08 13:19 [p.23450]
Mr. Speaker, I want to make one correction. My colleague tried to claim that the NDP is worried about preliminary hearings because this measure would not really reduce delays in the justice system and because, ultimately, there are not enough hearings to create delays. This was certainly one point that came up.
However, in essence, our major concern is what we heard from defence lawyers in committee. They explained their concerns that, without preliminary hearings, it would not be possible to identify the cases in which the accused is, in the end, actually innocent and should not have been charged.
Eliminating the preliminary hearing process will mean that people who are not guilty will end going to trial. The conviction rate for people who are not guilty will go up.
What does my colleague think about that? Is he not worried about eliminating this essential step to preventing false convictions in a system where vulnerable Canadians are already overrepresented?
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-05-24 17:09 [p.19617]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
As the member for Victoria indicated in his speech, we oppose the bill simply because it is far too flawed. Yes, it does contain some measures that have been lacking for a long time, but it also fails to include an extremely important measure, the review of mandatory minimum sentences, even though that was included in the minister's mandate letter. I would like to hear what my colleague has to say about that because the previous government is the one that established those minimum sentences.
It has been proven that mandatory minimum sentences do not reduce the crime rate in our communities. On the contrary, taking away the discretionary power of judges does nothing to keep the public safe. Republican legislators in the United States came to the same conclusion, even though they, like the previous government, were strong supporters of this policy.
Does the member agree that the minister should deal with this important issue, which is part of her mandate, once and for all?
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