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View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
moved that Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Judges Act and the Criminal Code, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Arif Virani Profile
2020-02-19 15:54 [p.1261]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak this afternoon in support of Bill C-5, an act to amend the Judges Act and the Criminal Code of Canada. The bill is premised on the conviction that when survivors of sexual assault appear before our courts, they have the right to be treated with dignity and respect and to be assured that the law of sexual assault is being faithfully applied. There is no room for court decisions to be tainted by harmful myths and stereotypes of how survivors of sexual assault ought to behave. The determination to tackle this problem is deeply held by this government. However, I know it is also shared by parliamentarians from all regions of the country and all political stripes.
For far too long, victims of sexual assault have had to deal with a justice system that does not treat them with the dignity they deserve.
Many victims of sexual assault decide not to file a complaint because they are afraid of being mistreated and humiliated. That is why most sexual assaults committed in Canada are not reported to the police.
This is not an issue that is easy to resolve. Parliament alone cannot do it. Improving the way the justice system treats victims of sexual assault requires the mobilization of all levels of government and many stakeholders for broad action. In addition, all members of Canadian society have a shared responsibility to challenge and counter the myths, stereotypes and attitudes that have a pernicious effect on our justice system.
In this regard, education and information play a critical role. I applaud the extraordinary work that many organizations and individuals right around Canada are doing tirelessly to this end. However, Parliament has its own responsibilities. As parliamentarians, we can and we must take action. Canadians need to know that their elected representatives in this chamber are resolutely working toward a criminal justice system that all Canadians can trust and turn to, especially those who are the most vulnerable.
To this end, this bill seeks to ensure that superior court judges have the awareness, skills and knowledge to handle sexual assault cases in a manner that is fair to the parties, that is free from myths and stereotypes and that treats survivors with utmost dignity.
The bill also promotes rigour and transparency by requiring that judges provide reasons for their decisions in sexual assault proceedings and that these reasons be set out in writing or in the record of the proceedings.
I would like to acknowledge the remarkable leadership on this matter by the Hon. Rona Ambrose, the former interim leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, in the last Parliament. In the previous Parliament, Ms. Ambrose introduced Bill C-337, the predecessor to the very bill before us today.
As we will recall, Bill C-337 received unanimous support in this very chamber, strengthened by an amendment brought forward by the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, which did excellent work on studying the bill. It worked to amend it to include social context education in the bill. That complementary piece will ensure that judicial training and education includes working to better understand the demographics, the background and the lived experience of the litigants who appear before our courts.
The Senate sent the bill to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, which proposed meaningful amendments to address concerns about the bill undermining the independence of the justice system.
Members may recall that many stakeholders and parliamentarians, including the bill's sponsor, applauded the work of the Senate committee to improve the bill in question.
I agree with that view of the committee's amendments. Unfortunately, we were unable to pass the bill before the end of the previous Parliament.
Since the last Parliament, we have seen cross-party support for reviving this important measure. This is evidence of the strong support for the convictions underpinning this important bill, convictions which transcend political parties and partisan interests.
I want to thank all the parties, as well as our colleagues in the other chamber, for their commitment to a collaborative approach to this initiative. Canadians have sent us to this chamber with a clear message that they expect parliamentarians to work together. Our work on the bill is a clear illustration that we are listening and acting accordingly.
The bill places particular emphasis on the judiciary. Our government recognizes the need for education, not only for judges but also for all actors in the justice system. We are working with our provincial and territorial counterparts and justice stakeholders to expand our efforts in this area. However, the focus of the bill before the House today is on judges. To be a judge is to bear an important responsibility.
I want to quote from the Hon. Justice Gonthier, former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. He said:
The judge is the pillar of our entire justice system, and of the rights and freedoms which that system is designed to promote and protect. Thus, to the public, judges not only swear by taking their oath to serve the ideals of Justice and Truth on which the rule of law in Canada and the foundations of our democracy are built, but they are asked to embody them.
Justice Gonthier continued:
...the personal qualities, conduct and image that a judge projects affect those of the judicial system as a whole and, therefore, the confidence that the public places in it.
The confidence of the public in the administration of justice is critical to the underpinning of the bill that is before us.
Given judges' fundamental role, the public has especially high expectations of them. The Canadian Judicial Council put it as follows:
From the time they are considered for appointment to the Bench, and every day thereafter, superior court judges in Canada are expected to be knowledgeable jurists. They are also expected to demonstrate a number of personal attributes including knowledge of social issues, an awareness of changes in social values, humility, fairness, empathy, tolerance, consideration and respect for others. In short, Canadians expect their judges to know the law but also to possess empathy and to recognize and question any past personal attitudes and sympathies that might prevent them from acting fairly.
In order for judges to meet these very high public expectations, relevant judicial education is essential. This education must be continually evolving in order for judges to perform their duties in situations that are constantly changing, that are dynamic. A lot of great work is being done now, but now there is a need to enshrine in legislation that this is an expected requirement going forward. That is why judicial education is a central feature of the bill under consideration before us now, Bill C-5.
Our criminal law has undergone considerable reform over the past three decades to encourage reporting of sexual assaults; to improve the criminal justice system's response to sexualized violence; and to counter discriminatory views of survivors that stem from myths and stereotypes about how a “true victim” is expected to behave. We know that such perceptions, myths and stereotypes have no role in the justice system in 2020, and that is what the bill targets.
As a result, the Criminal Code prohibits all forms of non-consensual sexual activity. It provides a clear definition of consent. It identifies when consent cannot be obtained. It set outs the rules for admissibility of certain types of evidence to deter the introduction of these harmful myths and stereotypes.
I would now like to explain a few of the proposed legislative amendments.
The bill before us is, as I mentioned at the outset, essentially the same as the former Bill C-337, as amended by the Senate.
In order to require newly appointed judges to undergo training on sexual assault law and social context, the bill proposes to amend the Judges Act and to include a new eligibility requirement.
Under this amendment, candidates for employment as a judge of the superior court will be required to make a commitment to undertake this type of training if they are appointed. That is an important caveat. Upon appointment is when the training would take place. This training is to ensure that the courts take into account Canada's extensive law and jurisprudence on sexual assault and information on the social context of litigants, without being influenced by preconceived or erroneous ideas.
The bill would also clarify that seminars established by the Canadian Judicial Council on matters related to sexual assault law must be developed after consultation with groups or individuals the council considers appropriate, including sexual assault survivors and groups supporting them.
In addition, the bill would require the Canadian Judicial Council to provide to the Minister of Justice, for tabling in Parliament, an annual report containing details on seminars offered on matters relating to sexual assault law and indicating the number of judges who have been attending. This is intended to enhance accountability in the education of sitting judges on these matters and to act as an incentive to encourage their participation.
Finally, the bill would amend the Criminal Code to require judges to provide reasons for decisions under sexual assault provisions of the Criminal Code. This amendment is intended to enhance the transparency of judicial decisions made in sexual assault proceedings by rendering them accessible, either in writing or on the record of the proceedings, so oral reasons would be sufficient as well.
I want to mention that this proposed amendment to require judges to provide reasons in the determination of sexual assault matters specifically is complementary to three currently existing requirements:
First, the members in the chamber should understand that section 726.2 of the Criminal Code requires judges to provide reasons when they are sentencing decisions.
Second, there is jurisprudence from the Supreme Court in a 2002 decision called Sheppard, which requires judges to provide reasons for their decisions more generally.
Third, subsections 278.8(2) and 278.94(5) of the Criminal Code require judges to provide reasons when determining whether certain types of evidence should be admitted in sexual assault cases.
Under this bill, the obligation to state reasons will be added to the other Criminal Code provisions relating to sexual assault. As a result, all provisions relating to sexual offences will be clear and accessible to the people applying them, thereby reducing the risk of an erroneous application of law by countering the potential influence of myths and stereotypes about victims of sexual assault and their behaviour.
This approach is in line with the Supreme Court of Canada's finding that these myths and stereotypes can undermine the courts' truth-seeking function.
It is also important to note for the purposes of today's debate that the government has already committed significant resources to support the availability of enhanced judicial training in this very area. In the 2017 budget, we provided the Canadian Judicial Council with $2.7 million over five years, and half a million dollars per year thereafter, to ensure that more judges have access to professional development, with a greater focus in particular on gender and culturally sensitive training.
Our government is also actively at work with stakeholders to ensure that appropriate training is available to all of Canada's judiciary; that is, to judges who are not federally appointed. Again, I want to acknowledge in this chamber the leadership and determination of the Hon. Rona Ambrose in making this happen as well.
Next, I want to turn to the important principle of judicial independence. This bill is designed to support that constitutionally entrenched principle. I parenthetically note that in my previous life as a constitutional litigator, I spent considerable time working on this very principle and dealing with this very issue. I am very proud to say today that the bill we are debating in this chamber clearly supports the principle of judicial independence, and importantly the principle that the education of judges should be the responsibility of the judiciary. That is an important feature that is entrenched in this bill.
Whatever measures are taken to ensure that judges have access to sexual assault training and its social context, those measures would be ill-advised if they interfere with judicial independence.
Public trust requires knowing not only that judges have the expertise required to settle the disputes that come before them, but also knowing that they are independent of Parliament, the executive branch and any other group that could try to unduly influence them.
We in Canada are fortunate to have a strong, independent judicial system. We cannot take this independence for granted, and as parliamentarians, we must work to preserve and promote it.
What I can report to this chamber is that Canada's judiciary is strongly committed to ensuring that the best possible education is available to judges. In fact Canada, thankfully, is an internationally respected leader in judicial education and is a trailblazer in social context education in particular.
Let me briefly highlight the important roles of two organizations that oversee the work of judges. The first is the Canadian Judicial Council, which I briefly mentioned earlier, and the second is the National Judicial Institute.
The Canadian Judicial Council is responsible for setting professional development requirements for superior court judges. In its professional development policy, the council requires judges newly appointed to a superior court to complete an education program for new judges, as well as a more general program to be completed within five years of appointment. These programs include sexual assault law and social context education. What we are doing with this bill is making this a formal requirement.
The National Judicial Institute is responsible for the overall coordination of judicial education in Canada. In addition to being a primary education provider, the National Judicial Institute is an internationally recognized leader in judicial education. The institute seeks to integrate substantive law, skills development and awareness of social context in all of its programs.
I want to acknowledge the significant commitment of the Canadian Judicial Council and the National Judicial Institute to ensuring that judges have access to the training they need. We thank them for their full commitment to a justice system that all Canadians can trust, especially those who are most vulnerable.
It is also important to acknowledge in this chamber the important and respectful dialogue between the judicial and legislative branches that the previous bill, Bill C-337, triggered in the last Parliament, which I am confident will continue as the current bill, Bill C-5, is debated and studied. All partners in this dialogue share a strong commitment to a justice system that survivors of sexual assault can trust and that all vulnerable persons can trust, a justice system that treats them with the dignity and respect they so dearly deserve.
It is also important to outline how this bill would work within the context of other government commitments and government actions. Supporting victims and survivors of crime is a priority for our government. This includes working with provinces and territories to provide free legal advice and support to survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence. It includes the government's commitment, announced in the Speech from the Throne, to build on the gender-based violence strategy and work with partners to develop a national action plan.
The bill before us represents a major step forward. It gives parliamentarians an opportunity to send a clear message to all Canadian victims of sexual assault that we are not indifferent to their experiences, that courage is an inspiration and that they deserve a justice system that treats them with the utmost dignity and respect.
I know that we all share the same convictions in this regard, which is why I urge all members on both sides of this House to agree to support the very important measures contained in Bill C-5.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, I appreciate the parliamentary secretary's speech, and I too would like to acknowledge the work that was done by the Hon. Rona Ambrose in the previous Parliament and the work that this House did together, particularly at the status of women committee too, to get that previous bill, Bill C-337, to the Senate.
I am proud to indicate that the NDP will be supporting this bill to go forward to committee, but I have a number of questions for the parliamentary secretary. We know that often complainants in sexual assault cases are provided inadequate social supports and inadequate information about the court process, and they are often confronted with a system that completely ignores their wishes.
These are not problems that a bill can solve. While Bill C-5 is important, I would like to know how the federal government, acting in a leadership role with all the provinces, is going to move to address these issues.
My second question is with regard to the TRC's call to action number 27, which recommends that lawyers receive extensive training on first nations indigenous issues, particularly with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as systemic racism, which we are now seeing all across Canada. I wonder what the government may do to require training for judges to bring their competency up in those particular areas.
View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Arif Virani Profile
2020-02-19 16:13 [p.1265]
Madam Speaker, the member has been a significant contributor to many Parliaments, including in the past study of this bill in his past work on the justice committee. I want to thank him and his party for their support of this bill. It is quite critical.
To address the first part of the question, the member opposite asked about some of the social supports, and I will readily confess that this obviously cannot be done in a vacuum. We need to be doing what we can to address the very difficult circumstances that face a number of victims, in particular sexual assault victims, when they interact with the justice system. I think what this would do is address the adjudication side with respect to sensitizing judges in their understanding of the issues, but there are many complementary pieces.
He raised the issue of the lawyers and potential legal support. One could also raise the issue about the police and their interactions with sexual assault victims and survivors. I think it all needs to be done in a complementary piece, and I look forward to aspects of the gender violence strategy that will look to those different dimensions.
The Minister of Justice's mandate letter states that he has been given a mandate to ensure that legal aid supports are there, in particular for survivors of sexual violence. I think that is a good step in terms of addressing the access to justice piece that the hon. member mentioned.
With respect to the TRC calls to action, there are many that still need to be addressed. We know this. There are many that also relate to the MMIWG's calls for justice. With respect to the lawyers' training, what I will indicate to him in all candour is that a previous incarnation of this bill looked at potentially having the training apply to all applicants, regardless of whether they were appointed. The current iteration of the bill looks at applicants who are undertaking this training because they have been appointed.
It is an open question. As a member of the bar, I think all members of my profession need to have a better understanding and sensitivity training with respect to how to handle these issues and the issues that face all vulnerable people.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-19 16:15 [p.1265]
Madam Speaker, I welcome seeing Bill C-5 renamed and back in this place. As we all recall, the bill was proposed initially as a private member's bill by the former interim leader of the Conservative party, Rona Ambrose. I am sure I am not alone, in a non-partisan sense, in saying we miss her in this place.
I wonder about openness to amendments. One came to mind recently when I had constituents asking in town hall meetings about a decision of an Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator, a Ms. Randhawa. Her decision was appalling, and it was overturned in the Federal Court of Appeal. It occurs to me that perhaps we need to expand the range of training. In this particular case, the IRB adjudicator refused a request for refugee status because the adjudicator found it not credible that the woman who feared returning to her home country for fear of violent attack by an intimate partner had kept a child of rape, and therefore, the adjudicator said, it could not have really been rape. It is very upsetting to imagine that we have adjudicators with life-and-death control over people seeking protection in Canada.
I wonder if the hon. parliamentary secretary could indicate whether we might be able to expand the scope of training to people who deal with refugee claimants.
View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Arif Virani Profile
2020-02-19 16:17 [p.1265]
Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her contributions in the chamber.
This bill is focused on the Judges Act and Criminal Code amendments that relate thereto. It has been carefully calibrated to deal with the constitutional principle of judicial independence. Without going too much into the weeds, I would say to the hon. member that when dealing with adjudicators that are outside the scope of what is called a federally appointed judge or a Superior Court judge, there is the ability to be more prescriptive. Therefore, for people who adjudicate in quasi-judicial tribunals, for administrative adjudicators or decision-makers, there is the possibility to be even more prescriptive and more directive with respect to the training that needs to take place.
I know about the case the member has mentioned. That has been raised on the floor of the House, and quite appropriately so, because the fact that those types of myths and stereotypes are being perpetuated by various levels of adjudicators around this country and by various government appointees in this country is deeply problematic and needs to be addressed.
With respect to this bill, this bill has been calibrated for judges. Doing something more direct and even stronger with respect to additional adjudicators is something that I think all members in this House would welcome.
View Niki Ashton Profile
NDP (MB)
View Niki Ashton Profile
2020-02-19 16:18 [p.1265]
Madam Speaker, I would like to echo the sentiments of my NDP colleagues in the House in stating our support for this important piece of legislation, while also insisting that we need to build on this specifically with a lens on the experience of indigenous women, recognizing that the violence experienced by indigenous women is far greater than what is experienced by other women in our country, and also recognizing that sexual violence against women remains constant while violence has gone down overall over the last few years.
There is no question that this legislation is key, but let us make sure we get it right. Let us make sure we use this opportunity as a Parliament to make a difference for survivors as they face the justice system. Let us make sure that we get it right by making sure that the experiences of indigenous survivors are part of the work we do going forward.
View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Arif Virani Profile
2020-02-19 16:19 [p.1266]
Madam Speaker, the observation and comment of the hon. member dovetails with the previous comment mentioned by her colleague with respect to the TRC.
We know that women face significant hurdles when they are raising sexual assault concerns in formal processes, such as those in the criminal justice system. We know it is not a hospitable environment by any means, and there are significant challenges. Those challenges are exponentially multiplied when individuals also have other intersecting components in their lived experience, such as being racialized women or indigenous women in particular. We heard about that a great deal in the MMIWG's calls for justice. Addressing that aspect is something we are very committed to.
I am very pleased that in the study on the status of women in the previous Parliament, social context was inserted into the bill to make sure that the judges' lens of analysis and their information and training would accommodate for all of that lived experience that litigants present when they appear in court, but that needs to be fleshed out even further. The experiences of indigenous women in particular need to be a focus of this bill.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-02-19 16:20 [p.1266]
Madam Speaker, my question is about the amount of consensus that we see as this piece of legislation advances, because there seems to be support from all sides of this House. I am wondering if my colleague can provide his thoughts on how encouraging it is when we see all parties coming together on such an important issue.
View Arif Virani Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Arif Virani Profile
2020-02-19 16:21 [p.1266]
Madam Speaker, that is an excellent question. I will confess that it is, unfortunately, all too rare, but it is very encouraging when it happens. Sometimes we can all stand united, all 338 of us, in recognizing an important bill that is trying to address a pressing social concern. That is what this bill represents.
There needed to be some tweaks to the legislation to ensure that it was compliant with judicial independence. We made those tweaks with the help of committees, both in this chamber and in the Senate, but what we have before us is a very strong bill that hopefully all parties can get behind so that we can ensure that it comes into force as expeditiously as possible.
View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, I would like to inform the House that I will take the unusual step of sharing my time in this early round. I believe all the parties have been surveyed and all are on board. I wish to seek unanimous consent to split my time with the member for Calgary Skyview.
View Carol Hughes Profile
NDP (ON)
Does the hon. member have unanimous consent to share his time?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, I am sure the House will be thankful for that.
I am a proud member of the Law Society, and because of that, part of the justice system. The justice system is supposed to be a safe place for victims of sexual assault. However, our justice system has had a checkered history in fairly weighing the rights of the victims versus those of the accused in sexual assault cases.
Incredibly, up until 1983, a woman's claim of sexual assault could be undermined by evidence submitted with respect to her sexual history. A woman's claim of sexual assault could be undermined or even dismissed because of such trivial, terrible considerations as the length of her skirt or her recent dating history.
I am glad to see that as a country we have grown to understand that we need to stop blaming victims in cases of sexual assault and put the blame where it should be, directly at the feet of the perpetrator. However, Canada still faces a sexual assault epidemic and our justice system appears only marginally capable of dealing with the torrent of these sexual assault cases.
There are over 400,000 sexual assaults in Canada every year. By some measures, for every thousand sexual assaults that occur in Canada, only 33 are reported to police. That is unacceptable in a country as good and as great as Canada. Of those 33 reported assaults, believe it or not, charges are brought in only 12 cases; six cases are prosecuted and three cases lead to a conviction.
This is an extremely disturbing statistic. I have a sister and a mother, and the most precious thing in my life, other than my son in equal amounts, is my daughter. I now know that if she were to come across sexual violence, there would be less than a 0.1% chance of her perpetrator being brought to justice in Canada. That is a truly disturbing and atrocious number.
There are a number of reasons why victims do not report sexual assault, including shame, self-blame, feeling there is a lack of evidence, embarrassment and fear of retaliation. Another overlying reason is the lack of faith in the criminal justice system. As a member of the bar and this system, that deeply hurts me.
If there is anything we can do to improve the system for victims of sexual assault, that should be something we do. I will definitely be supporting this bill. In fact, I salute the government for bringing this important piece of legislation forward.
The lack of respect for women seems not to be limited to just the justice system. It seems that it has spread across the government. As we have seen recently, a Parole Board member in Quebec advised a violent criminal, one who had killed his own wife, to seek the services of a sex worker. That resulted in her violent death.
She was a beautiful, wonderful woman. God only knows what impact she could have had on society or what good she could have done for our world. Unfortunately, her life was snuffed out all too early, when she was merely a young woman.
We have also heard the stories in this House of what happened with the refugee board when a refugee adjudicator said that rape could not be rape if a woman decided to keep the child. I could not imagine something more offensive than that comment.
I call upon the government to look at this as an opportunity to spread the type of sensitivity training it is talking about for judges. It is honourable and I will support it. However, we should go beyond our judges to perhaps our adjudicators and to other individuals within the government who appear to desperately need this training.
Victims of sexual assault and sexual violence are throughout our community. Indeed, some statistics put it as high as one in three women will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime.
As a father of a four-year-old daughter, that statistic is absolutely disturbing to me. It is something that as a community, not just as legislators, we need to spend every resource on stopping.
While the number of men who experience sexual violence is much smaller, this is a pressing issue for everyone. Victims of sexual assault are, after all, our daughters, sisters, mothers, friends and co-workers. Quite frankly, they deserve better from us and they deserve more protection. We must as a society attempt to drive this out of our communities, our country and indeed our world.
Part of ending sexual violence is not just punishing the perpetrators of these heinous acts, but also helping the victims feel more comfortable in sharing their stories. Part of the reason this legislation is so important is that we need to make sure judges deal appropriately with these cases and make it as palatable as possible for the victims of sexual violence to tell their stories.
Many victims do not feel comfortable coming forward because of their lack of faith in the criminal justice system. They do the incredible and difficult feat of coming forward and then meet the new challenge of facing our justice system.
Sadly, some judges have indicated they do not understand what sexual consent means, even though it is clear in law and in the Criminal Code.
Some judges have gone so far as to ask a victim in court why she could not just keep her knees together. Those comments need to never be said again in a courtroom or anywhere in Canada. Other comments have been made asking why the victim did not scream while the alleged assault took place or why the victim did not skew her pelvis to avoid penetration.
I am paraphrasing actual statements that were said in a court of law. These are disgusting words that should never be spoken anywhere in our country, much less in a courtroom.
Perhaps by giving judges the necessary training we can avoid these outlandish comments and give victims more confidence in our justice system so they will know they will be treated with respect when they perform the ultimate act of bravery and confront their perpetrators.
I will be honest. As a man it is hard to speak about these cases because I cannot possibly understand what these women have gone through. I honestly cannot imagine the horror of living through sexual violence and being forced to retell that story over and over again. These women come forward to protect other women only to have their credibility questioned or to have to face their tormentor over and over again. However, this is what the criminal justice system demands for justice.
Fixing our criminal justice system is about helping our federal judges begin to understand the quiet suffering of victims of sexual violence and teaching our judges to be more compassionate toward the victims. This bill is not about fixing our justice system as much as it is about making Canada a safer, more friendly place for all women and children. This bill not only makes sense but is also a step in the right direction for all victims of sexual assault across Canada.
I will wholeheartedly support this bill, and I salute the government for bringing it forward.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, I could tell my Conservative colleague's speech came very much from the heart.
On February 4, a few weeks ago, I remember the Leader of the Opposition raising concern in this chamber regarding the Parole Board of Canada and the murder of Ms. Levesque. I think it was inferred during that discussion that the Conservatives might like to see some of this training extended to other members under federal jurisdiction, such as the Parole Board of Canada and possibly even further to members of the Immigration and Refugee Board.
I know Bill C-5 is quite limited in its scope and is looking just at the Judges Act, but I am curious to hear the member's opinions and thoughts on whether other branches that make important decisions in our society should have this kind of training mandated as well.
View Philip Lawrence Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, I agree that this type of training, specifically with respect to the Parole Board but more generally as well, is needed throughout the government. As we have continuing instances, there appears, I dare say, to be a pattern of insensitivity toward the victims of sexual violence.
I think there can be no bad education or knowledge about this. As we continue to make sure that women, particularly those victims of sexual violence, are dealt with fairly, I would be in favour of that.
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