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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 13:26
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I call this meeting to order.
Welcome to meeting number 19 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. Pursuant to the order of reference of Thursday, March 31, the committee is meeting to study Bill C-5, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
Today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format pursuant to the House order of November 25, 2021. Members are attending in person in the room and remotely using the Zoom application. The proceedings will be made available via the House of Commons website.
As a reminder, for interpretation, for those of you who are on the monitors on Zoom, there's a globe icon at the bottom of your screen. You can switch to the language of your choice. Make sure that your headset is House of Commons compliant, with a microphone. That would be helpful.
We want to welcome our witnesses. Again we have Andrew Di Manno and Matthew Taylor from the criminal law policy section, who will assist us in any questions as we go through clause by clause.
(On clause 10)
The Chair: I believe we were at Green Party amendment 17. I believe we had done with debate and were going to vote on that clause, so I will read it out.
Shall PV-17—
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View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-05-20 13:26
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On a point of order, Mr. Chair, I thought that Mr. Brock was still.... He had an intervention. I don't remember all of it, but I thought he was still speaking and I thought we still had debate before Green amendment 17.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 13:26
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My recollection may be bad.
Mr. Brock, I assumed that you had concluded at the time.
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View Larry Brock Profile
CPC (ON)
View Larry Brock Profile
2022-05-20 13:26
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I certainly had not concluded. I had approximately another dozen points I want to make, in addition to reviewing some pertinent case law on the particular issue.
I think I left off where I was going to discuss the distinctions of various jurists that I've had the pleasure of appearing before in the province of Ontario, the differences by which they approach gun crime and how they approach conditional sentences, but given the exhaustive discussion that I had on Tuesday, I think it's probably prudent that we move ahead.
I have nothing further to add, Mr. Chair. Thank you.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 13:27
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Thank you, Mr. Brock.
I just want to remind you that if PV-17 is adopted, Bloc-1 and Conservative amendment 7 cannot be moved, as they amend the same line.
We'll have a recorded vote, Mr. Clerk.
Do I have a point of order from you, Mr. Morrison? I see that your hand is up.
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View Rob Morrison Profile
CPC (BC)
View Rob Morrison Profile
2022-05-20 13:27
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I wasn't sure if we were quite ready to move on. I want to speak just briefly to this clause, to all three clauses.
I just want to get in a bit of a point that hasn't been brought up yet. I'm sure the Bloc is well aware of what I'm going to be talking about. It was in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, where an 11-year-old boy was gunned down while playing with another 11-year-old on a playground at a church, when there was a gang war in Montreal.
That sort of changed how policing responded to gangs, violence and shootings. They reached the point where they had had enough. Now, we are talking here, in this clause, about drive-by shootings, which is exactly what happened there to that family and to that victim. It was horrific. Every day in Parliament we're talking—and it is not just the Conservatives but also the Bloc—about the increase in violence in Montreal and especially in drive-by shootings. Now here we are discussing conditional sentences, almost, for this offence.
Of all the offences with guns, drive-by shooting has to be the most serious. It is with intent. It is not just somebody taking their shotgun out and firing off a few shots. This is intended to kill someone. Unfortunately, these gangsters are not the best shots. They end up killing civilians and innocent children.
I do not want go on. We talked quite a bit about this at our last meeting. We have to focus more on crime prevention. For people who commit these crimes, there has to be a deterrent. It does not matter who it is. If it is a Canadian, there has to be a deterrent to this. We need to start really going back into the root of the problem, which is crime prevention and not having youth getting involved in gangs and organized crime and gun violence and the illegal drug trade. That is where I believe we need to focus.
I just wanted to get that point out before we moved onto another clause.
Thank you, Chair.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 13:30
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Thank you, Mr. Morrison.
I see that Mr. Brock's hand is up.
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View Larry Brock Profile
CPC (ON)
View Larry Brock Profile
2022-05-20 13:30
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Thank you, Chair.
Just following up on Mr. Morrison's comments—and I think I reiterated this several times in my interventions on Tuesday—this particular point and this particular section of the code are probably the most topical right now in our country. They have been topical for the last 10 years. It's what strikes at the heart of community concerns and safety. I just worry about the message that this particular Parliament is sending to like-minded individuals who would be so cavalier with the lives of innocent victims as they carry out their vendettas in a gang-by-gang type of warfare. As I reiterated many times on Tuesday, they are very poor shooters. They shoot at random, quite often from moving vehicles, and innocent victims are impacted.
To my colleague Mr. Morrison's point, we need to send an appropriate deterrent message to the Department of Justice officials. I am sure if I were to pose the question directly to them, they would agree with me that the primary sentencing features and focus of this type of offence are denunciation, deterrence and removal from society. We already have a problem in terms of that messaging with mandatory minimum penalties already on the books. It's abundantly clear that these like-minded violent recidivist criminals have absolutely no regard for criminal law and the penalties that flow from it. Now, once it is heavily advertised that this is the new law, that Bill C-5 would actually make it easy for them to prey on each other and to impact communities, we are definitely going to see a spike in crime.
I certainly want to go on record, as a former Crown attorney who fought daily to ensure that my community was as safe as possible, who fought daily to hold these recidivist criminals to account for their behaviour, that I certainly do not want my DNA on any part of Bill C-5 that supports this amendment. I will be voting against it.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 13:33
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Thank you, Mr. Brock.
I guess we'll go to a vote on this now.
Go ahead, Mr. Moore.
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View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-05-20 13:33
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Thank you.
I want to make one quick point, because you mentioned, Mr. Chair, that should Green 17 pass, then BQ-1 would not be dealt with or CPC-7.
I want to quickly remind.... I even heard this idea today in question period. I believe it was the parliamentary secretary, who did a great job of standing up and responding, but the only problem is that I want to make sure we have the facts. Because we should all be well informed on this legislation, as well as on the amendments, I don't want any member of the justice committee to be under any illusion as to the origins of this particular provision.
Paragraph 244(2)(b) and its mandatory minimum penalty of four years, originally, for discharging a firearm with intent, was introduced into our Criminal Code in 1995 under a Liberal government. I don't know how many of you on the Liberal side know her, but Marlene Jennings, I believe, used to be the parliamentary secretary for justice. When I was on the justice committee she was on there as well, both in government and I believe in opposition. Marlene is from the Montreal area and a long-time Liberal, and I just want to quote her. She said:
It was a Liberal government that brought in mandatory minimum sentencing for firearm related crimes. There is a whole category of them where currently it is a minimum of one year.
I'm not going to list off all those offences because we've already dealt with a bunch of them in our clause-by-clause and eliminated the one-year minimum, but she went on to say:
There is [a] second category of designated offences where currently it is four years. In committee, and again at report stage in the House, the Liberal members attempted to increase the one year to two years and the four years to five years.
This was May 17—so just about this time—in 2007.
For those of you who know Marlene, number one, you know that she is certainly not a racist—because that term has been tossed around in the context of Bill C-5—and you also know that she knows what she's talking about. She was a long-time Liberal member of Parliament.
Before we vote on Green-17 and deal through that vote with possibly BQ-1 as well as CPC-7, and then go on to clause 10, I want it to be abundantly clear that the mandatory minimum we are dealing with in this section has its origins with a Liberal government.
With that, I've finished with my comments, Mr. Chair.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 13:37
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Thank you, Mr. Moore.
Seeing no hands up and nothing from the room, we will have a recorded vote.
(Amendment negatived: nays 11; yeas 0 [See Minutes of Proceedings])
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View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Chair, I want to seek unanimous consent on a matter.
I would like to ask for unanimous consent to dispose of all the Green Party amendments from 18 through to 43 without consideration by committee.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 13:39
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Does anybody oppose that of the sitting members...?
Some hon. members: No.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 13:39
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Okay. We'll take the vote, but the clerk and the analysts are just going to quickly look to make sure there is no effect on the subsequent votes in some of those cases, if we can just hold for a minute or so.
Thank you.
I've been advised by the analysts that it's fine. Those are all considered, I guess, deemed zero to 11 as voted on. I will move forward. Next, we have Bloc amendment 1—
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View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-05-20 13:40
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I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
I thought the parliamentary secretary asked for unanimous consent to deal with all of the Green amendments at once, and I denied consent, so what...? Are we voting on something right now?
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 13:41
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No—
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View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-05-20 13:41
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Are we moving on to BQ-1?
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 13:41
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You have my apologies. My understanding was that there was silence and you just said that.... I might have misunderstood it, so I guess you're saying that we do not have unanimous consent and you want to vote on them one by one.
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View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-05-20 13:41
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I do. I think we can deal with the vote on them quickly when they come up because some of them are so profoundly ignorant. I don't think we should just lump them together and do away with them, because some of them would have an extremely profound impact on the safety of young Canadians particularly.
When you look at the number of clauses where the Green Party is seeking to eliminate the mandatory minimum penalty, since they took the time to put these into our committee, I would like to take the time to vote against them and be on record as saying that we need to do everything we can as parliamentarians to protect young people.
I don't know if you heard it, but I had unmuted and said “no” when you asked for unanimous consent.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 13:42
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I take that as a no. There's no unanimous consent.
We'll go to Bloc amendment 1.
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View Mike Morrice Profile
GP (ON)
View Mike Morrice Profile
2022-05-20 13:42
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I have a point of order.
Just to be clear for the committee, the vote that you had moved towards would have already been recorded under the UC that was proposed by the parliamentary secretary.
From a Green Party point of view, we think we've been clear already, at our last meeting, with respect to the rationale behind judicial discretion, and as I've stated already, that mandatory minimum penalties do not deter crime. On this unanimous consent motion, these points have already been made, in our view, and we would be very supportive of this committee moving them in one group, as has been recommended by the parliamentary secretary.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 13:43
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Thank you.
Unfortunately, we'll have to go line by line as we do not have unanimous consent.
We'll move on. We'll go to Bloc amendment 1. That's on page 25 of the package.
Again, if Bloc amendment 1 is adopted, Conservative amendment 7 cannot be moved, as they amend the same line.
Would Mr. Fortin want to say anything on this or are we good to vote?
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View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2022-05-20 13:43
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Mr. Chair, this amendment is in line with what we have proposed to members of the committee and to the House on a number of occasions.
In general, we agree that the courts should have all the flexibility they need to determine appropriate sentences, while taking into account the maximum sentences contained in the act. We agree with eliminating mandatory minimum sentences, but we think that would be inappropriate in some cases. I think it was Mr. Moore or Mr. Morrison who talked about the rise in violent gun crime that we've seen over the last year or two, particularly in Montreal, but also elsewhere in Canada. We believe that mandatory minimum sentences should be maintained for these serious crimes.
That being said, I would like to remind you that a witness we heard from at a previous meeting, Professor Desrosiers, from Laval University, in Quebec City, made a proposal to us. She said that an acceptable compromise would be for the court to waive the mandatory minimum in exceptional circumstances. In fact, Minister Lametti told our committee that, in certain circumstances, it seemed inappropriate to impose a minimum sentence. He gave the example of someone who used a firearm to shoot at a cement wall to impress his buddies. If that person clearly deserves to be punished, sending him to prison would not necessarily be appropriate. The courts should therefore be given the opportunity to waive mandatory minimum sentences in exceptional circumstances.
We are proposing this amendment, which maintains the mandatory minimum sentence. This still sends a message to the public that the offence will be dealt with severely, but gives the court the opportunity to override the mandatory minimum sentence in exceptional circumstances. Before waiving the mandatory minimum sentence, judges will have to explain why the circumstances of the case before them are exceptional.
We think that would help prevent things from going off the rails. Some crimes should not be given a prison sentence, but because of the mandatory minimum sentences, a sentence is given anyway. This would avoid sending a message to the public that Parliament is being flippant in dealing with crimes as serious as the one referred to in BQ‑1.
That is the reason for our amendment, which I think is a very honourable compromise. It maintains mandatory minimum sentences, but it gives judges the opportunity to waive them.
Thank you.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 13:47
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Thank you, Monsieur Fortin.
I think Mr. Moore has his hand up.
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View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-05-20 13:47
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Thank you. I have a quick question for our witnesses.
As I recall, the mandatory minimum penalty for this offence was four years. It was raised to five years for a first offence. The amendment that the government is proposing would eliminate the mandatory minimum entirely, so I do see some merit in Mr. Fortin's amendment.
Can you clarify for the committee that this would be reducing the minimum from five years to four years, but still maintaining a mandatory minimum, in fact the mandatory minimum that existed previously?
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Andrew Di Manno
View Andrew Di Manno Profile
Andrew Di Manno
2022-05-20 13:48
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As I understand the amendment, it would provide an escape clause for the four-year mandatory minimum penalty, but not with respect to the five- and seven-year mandatory minimum penalty that exists where a prohibited and restricted firearm is used in a first offence or where it's linked to organized crime.
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View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-05-20 13:48
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Thank you.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 13:48
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Thank you, Mr. Moore.
Seeing no other hands, I'm going to double-check with Mr. Garrison if he's able to hear what I'm saying, because I'm going to be calling a vote. If he can nod.... I still can't hear you, Mr. Garrison.
Would we be able to patch him in by phone at least?
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View Lena Metlege Diab Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Lena Metlege Diab Profile
2022-05-20 13:49
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He's indicating that he can hear you, but unfortunately, we can't hear him.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 13:49
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I'll go to the vote, and we'll see thumbs up or thumbs down with him. We'll go—
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View Larry Brock Profile
CPC (ON)
View Larry Brock Profile
2022-05-20 13:49
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Mr. Chair, my hand is up.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 13:49
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Go ahead, Mr. Brock.
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View Larry Brock Profile
CPC (ON)
View Larry Brock Profile
2022-05-20 13:49
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Thank you.
While I appreciate the spirit in which the amendment has been brought forward, and I congratulate my colleague Monsieur Fortin for addressing the issue that's pertinent to our discussion—that is the overincarceration issue—I want to highlight to the committee that our Conservative amendment number 11 also speaks to the spirit of this particular amendment.
The only concern that I have, and why I cannot support it, is that, in criminal law, and particularly in my previous career, I demanded clarity with respect to the law. I guess an argument could be made that much of the litigation that flows from criminal law is the result of confusing terminology and different interpretations.
Wherever possible, I look for clarity. I look for definitions of clauses. The reason I cannot support Monsieur Fortin in this particular amendment is that I don't know what he means by “exceptional circumstances”. I don't know if that is what was contemplated by Monsieur Fortin. I think the spirit behind it captures what we're trying to do, but Bill C-5 is premised, again—at least with some of the narrative of the government—on reducing litigation. In my view, this creates more confusion. That's why I cannot support it.
Thank you.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 13:51
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Thank you, Mr. Brock.
We'll go to Monsieur Fortin.
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View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2022-05-20 13:51
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'd like to thank Mr. Brock for his comment. Perhaps he will allow me to round out my explanation on the issue of exceptional circumstances. I asked myself the same question, because I too like to see legislation that is clear and not confusing. I spoke with other legal experts before proposing the amendment as worded.
The problem is that it is virtually impossible to predict all the exceptional circumstances that may occur. By definition, if circumstances are exceptional, it's because they are uncommon and can't be defined in advance.
However, we still want to trust the courts. I'm sure Mr. Brock would agree with me that judges are usually able to make wise and informed decisions, and determine what is exceptional and what is not.
Again, I trust the courts on this issue, and I also trust our appellate courts to overturn and amend decisions that would be frankly unsound on the issue of waiver.
Defining too much in advance under what circumstances a waiver would be permitted would lead us down a blind alley, because we are absolutely unable to imagine all the circumstances that might arise. Other countries have already adopted the same wording to define what is meant by “exceptional circumstances”. We would have to go back to Professor Julie Desrosiers's testimony on this, but I think she mentioned New Zealand or Australia, I'm not sure. I know that two or three countries have adopted the same wording and that it works quite well.
I think we can let the court decide, as long as the judge has to explain what an exceptional circumstance is. If the judge doesn't justify it, then obviously their judgment will be appealed. The judge cannot waive the mandatory minimum sentence without first announcing the presence of exceptional circumstances. The judge will have to explain why the circumstances are exceptional. If the judge is mistaken, the Court of Appeal can correct the decision.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 13:53
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I don't see Mr. Garrison on the screen. Okay, he is back.
We'll have a recorded vote, please, on Bloc amendment 1.
(Amendment negatived: nays 10; yeas 1 [See Minutes of Proceedings])
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 13:55
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Next, we'll go to Conservative amendment 7.
Mr. Moore, did you want to speak to this?
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View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-05-20 13:55
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Just quickly, our amendment number 7 maintains a minimum sentence for discharging a firearm with intent in order to send a message that we don't tolerate drive-by shootings and that we don't want to have a revolving-door recidivism, where the same individuals are committing serious crimes, getting out and recommitting. It would maintain a mandatory minimum of two years where the government is seeking to make the minimum zero years of incarceration for discharging a firearm with criminal intent.
Thank you, Chair.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 13:56
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Thank you, Mr. Moore.
Shall Conservative amendment 7 carry?
(Amendment negatived: nays 7; yeas 4 [See Minutes of Proceedings])
(Clause 10 agreed to: yeas 6; nays 5)
(On clause 11)
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 13:57
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Next, we have clause 11. Our first amendment is Green Party amendment 18, on page 27 of the package. Again, if Green Party amendment 18 is adopted, Bloc amendment 2 and Conservative amendment 8 cannot be moved, as they amend the same line.
Hearing no questions on this, and as the Green Party member has already I think mentioned what he had to say, shall Green Party amendment 18 carry?
(Amendment negatived: nays 11; yeas 0 [See Minutes of Proceedings])
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 13:59
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We are going over to Bloc amendment 2. I'll remind members again that if Bloc amendment 2 is adopted then Conservative amendment 8 cannot be moved, as they amend the same line.
Monsieur Fortin, would you like to say anything on this?
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View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2022-05-20 13:59
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I could talk about that, but it would be akin to filibustering, because I would be repeating much of what I said to you a few moments ago about BQ‑1.
Again, we are simply proposing a compromise to maintain mandatory minimum sentences while allowing judges to waive them in exceptional circumstances. This is the offence of discharging a firearm recklessly.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:00
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Thank you, Monsieur Fortin.
Shall Bloc amendment 2 carry?
(Amendment negatived: nays 10; yeas 1 [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: Next is Conservative amendment 8 on page 29 of our package.
Mr. Moore, would you like to say anything on this?
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View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-05-20 14:01
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For the same reasons as stated earlier, this is an attempt to maintain a mandatory penalty for this offence. The government's proposal is to eliminate it entirely. Our proposal would maintain a two-year mandatory minimum.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:01
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Thank you, Mr. Moore.
Shall Conservative amendment 8 carry?
(Amendment negatived: nays 7; yeas 4 [See Minutes of Proceedings])
(Clause 11 agreed to: yeas 6; nays 5)
The Chair: Next, I've made rulings for Green Party amendments 19 to 29. They've all been deemed out of scope as they breach the parent act rule. They amend other codes of the act, so they are deemed inadmissible.
(On clause 12)
The Chair: We have Green Party amendment 30. If it is adopted, Bloc amendment 3 and Conservative amendment 9 cannot be moved, as they amend the same line.
Shall Green amendment 30 carry?
(Amendment negatived: nays 11; yeas 0 [See Minutes of Proceedings])
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:05
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Next we have Bloc amendment 3.
Again, if BQ-3 is adopted, Conservative amendment 9 cannot be moved as they amend the same line.
Mr. Fortin, are you okay with me proceeding, or would you like to say something?
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View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2022-05-20 14:06
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The reasoning is the same as for the two previous amendments, BQ‑1 and BQ‑2. The idea is to maintain the mandatory minimum sentence to indicate the seriousness of the offence, while allowing judges to waive it in exceptional circumstances.
This is what I think is most appropriate, especially since we're talking about robbery with a firearm. I find it peculiar that we would decide to abolish the mandatory minimum in such circumstances. It's a pretty startling message that we would be sending to gangs and the general public. The RCMP expects us to get tough on these crimes and stop these shootings, not to lessen the seriousness of them or to allow the courts to waive heavy sentences in such cases.
We believe that the minimum sentence should be maintained, while allowing a judge to waive it in exceptional circumstances, which the judge would then have to explain.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:07
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Thank you, Monsieur Fortin.
(Amendment negatived: nays 10; yeas 1 [See Minutes of Proceedings])
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:08
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I'm just going to suspend for five minutes for Mr. Garrison. He's been advised by IT to reboot his system, so we'll take a short suspension and resume at 2:13.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:13
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We're resuming the meeting. I think we are now at Conservative amendment 9 on page 43 of the package.
Mr. Moore, would you like to say anything on this or shall we vote?
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View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-05-20 14:14
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Thanks, Mr. Chair.
For the same reason.... This is one that is, again, ripped from the headlines. It's robbery with a firearm. This would maintain a mandatory minimum. The mandatory minimum of four years is going to be eliminated entirely. In an effort to reach across the aisle and in the spirit of compromise—and as always, protecting our communities—this would maintain a three-year mandatory minimum for robbery with a firearm.
I think it sends the appropriate message. I hope that all members will support this very reasonable amendment.
(Amendment negatived: nays 7; yeas 4 [See Minutes of Proceedings])
(Clause 12 agreed to: yeas 6; nays 5)
(On clause 13)
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:14
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We have a Green Party amendment 31 on page 44 of the package. Again, if Green Party amendment 31 is adopted, Bloc amendment 4 and Conservative amendment 10 cannot be moved as they amend the same line.
(Amendment negatived: nays 11; yeas 0 [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: Next, we go to Bloc amendment 4 on page 45 of the package.
Again, if Bloc amendment 4 is adopted, Conservative amendment 10 cannot be moved as they amend the same line.
Monsieur Fortin.
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View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2022-05-20 14:17
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
It's the same as the previous amendments. This time it's extortion with a firearm. Mandatory minimum sentences should not be abolished for these very serious crimes. This would again send a startling message to the public, who are concerned about the rise in violent gun crime. It would be like telling them that these crimes aren't that serious because we are abolishing minimum sentences. I don't want to be sensationalist, but it would be almost disastrous for social peace.
I think we need to maintain the mandatory minimum for these serious crimes. This would achieve the objective that government members have set for themselves, which is to allow the courts to waive minimum sentences in exceptional circumstances. It would add the possibility for the court to waive the minimum sentence as long as it can be established that there are exceptional circumstances justifying that decision. Otherwise, the mandatory minimum would remain.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:19
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Thank you, Monsieur Fortin.
Shall Bloc amendment 4 carry?
(Amendment negatived: nays 10; yeas 1 [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: Next, we have Conservative amendment 10, on page 46 of the package.
Does Mr. Moore or somebody want to speak on that?
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View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-05-20 14:20
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Go ahead, Mr. Chair.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:20
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Shall Conservative amendment 10 carry?
(Amendment negatived: nays 7; yeas 4 [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: Shall clause 13 carry?
We have five yeas and six nays. Clause 13 does not carry.
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View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
Lib. (ON)
I'd like to challenge the ruling of the chair, please.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:22
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Unfortunately, Mr. Anandasangaree, it's not the chair's decision. It's a vote and to have a revote—
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View Randall Garrison Profile
NDP (BC)
Mr Chair, I have been suffering from continuous technical problems. Were you calling a vote on clause 13 as a whole?
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:22
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I am calling a vote on clause 13 as a whole.
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View Randall Garrison Profile
NDP (BC)
I'm sorry. My vote is incorrect. I'm voting in favour of clause 13, but I am still having continuous technical problems here.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:23
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Okay, so let's redo the vote. Is that okay? I'll do a recount on that vote.
Yes, go ahead, Mr. Fortin.
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View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2022-05-20 14:23
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A point of order, Mr. Chair.
I think that in order to redo a vote that has already taken place, unless I'm mistaken, unanimous consent of the members is required.
If there is no unanimous consent of the members to redo the vote, we move on to the next motion, because the vote has taken place and is on the record.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:24
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Mr. Anandasangaree.
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View Gary Anandasangaree Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Chair, I think it's clear that Mr. Garrison has been having some technical difficulties throughout the afternoon. I know that we just recessed several minutes ago, and given the hybrid format, I think it would be appropriate to give Mr. Garrison the opportunity to clarify.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:24
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Monsieur Fortin, I'm going to make a ruling that we vote again, because Mr. Garrison was having technical difficulties. We had just suspended before. It is the will of the committee if it wants to challenge me on that, but my decision stands that we'll redo the vote.
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View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2022-05-20 14:24
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I respect your decision, Mr. Chair. However, with all due respect for this decision, it wasn't a technical issue that led Mr. Garrison to change his vote. He had voted and simply changed his mind. We saw and heard him vote.
Nevertheless, I respect your decision, Mr. Chair.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:24
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Mr. Garrison.
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View Randall Garrison Profile
NDP (BC)
The technical problems made it impossible for me to hear clearly which section you were calling, and I made a mistake in thinking what you were calling.
I've been on the phone with IT. We've rebooted things, and we've done everything we can. I apologize for the inconvenience to the committee. I'm not changing my vote. I voted incorrectly, because I could not hear correctly what you called.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:25
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Thank you, Mr. Garrison.
We will redo the vote. Shall clause 13 carry?
(Clause 13 agreed to: yeas 6; nays 5)
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:26
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Next, we have PV-32 to PV-37.
They all seek to repeal of parent provisions. It is therefore the opinion that, since they invoke on the parent act, they are inadmissible, so I'll be ruling PV-32 to PV-37 inadmissible.
Next, have Bloc amendment 5, which is on page 53, and I'm also making a ruling on that.
Would a member of the Bloc like to move Bloc amendment 5?
Go ahead, Monsieur Fortin.
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View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2022-05-20 14:27
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Mr. Chair, the purpose of this proposed amendment is similar to that of the previous proposed amendments.
We believe that mandatory minimum sentences are detrimental to the justice system because they prevent the court from considering the particular circumstances that would allow them to be waived. However, we think they are useful for sending a clear message to criminals and people who commit these types of offences, particularly firearms offences.
We therefore propose this amendment, which has been suggested to apply the same reasoning to all minimum sentences. This amendment aims to maintain minimum sentences, except in exceptional circumstances. The president of the court or the judge presiding over the hearing will have to explain why the circumstances of the case they are dealing with are exceptional. Otherwise, the judge must maintain the minimum sentence provided for by the legislator in the Criminal Code. This seems to us to be an appropriate solution, which offers a perfectly acceptable compromise between the vision of those who wish to maintain the hard line on mandatory minimum sentences and the vision of those who wish to soften them.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:28
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Thank you, Monsieur Fortin.
Bill C-5 amends the Criminal Code by repealing certain mandatory minimum penalties. The amendment, BQ-5, seeks to add a new section in the Criminal Code that would allow the court to waive any minimum punishment of imprisonment under exceptional circumstances.
As House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, states on page 770:
An amendment to a bill that was referred to a committee after second reading is out of order if it is beyond the scope and principle of the bill.
In the opinion of the chair, allowing the court to waive any minimum penalties in the Criminal Code goes beyond the scope of the bill. Therefore, I rule the amendment inadmissible.
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View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2022-05-20 14:29
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Mr. Chair, with all due respect, I appeal your decision and I would ask the members of the committee to reconsider.
Again, I don't believe that this amendment is out of order.
Mr. Chair, would you allow me to make my case on this decision?
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:30
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Are you asking to challenge the chair's decision?
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View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2022-05-20 14:30
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Yes, Mr. Chair.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:30
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Okay. That's a recorded vote.
(Ruling of the chair sustained: yeas 10; nays 1)
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:31
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We'll go to Green Party amendment 38 on page 54 of your package.
Similarly, I am going to make a ruling that this is out of scope. In the opinion of the chair, it's amending the principles of sentencing in the Criminal Code and goes beyond the scope of the bill. Therefore, I rule the amendment inadmissible.
On Conservative amendment 11 on page 55 of the package, I am going to also rule that it's beyond the scope. It amends....
I'm sorry. I would ask that a member of the Conservative Party move this motion.
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View Larry Brock Profile
CPC (ON)
View Larry Brock Profile
2022-05-20 14:32
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I am prepared to move the amendment.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:32
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Thank you.
Bill C-5 amends the Criminal Code by repealing certain mandatory minimum penalties. Conservative amendment 11 seeks to amend paragraph 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code, which deals with principles of sentencing.
As the House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, states on page 770:
An amendment to a bill that was referred to a committee after second reading is out of order if it is beyond the scope and principle of the bill.
In the opinion of the chair, amendment of the principles of sentencing in the Criminal Code goes beyond the scope of the bill. Therefore, I rule the amendment inadmissible.
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View Larry Brock Profile
CPC (ON)
View Larry Brock Profile
2022-05-20 14:33
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Mr. Chair, I wish to appeal your ruling, with argument.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:33
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There is no argument when you appeal the chair's decision. It just goes to a vote.
(Ruling of the chair sustained: yeas 6; nays 5)
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:34
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Next, we have Green Party amendment 39 on page 56 of the package. Similarly, I have ruled this out of scope. Therefore, I rule this amendment out of order.
Next we have Liberal amendment 1. Does anybody move Liberal amendment 1?
Since nobody moved it, I guess I don't have to rule on it.
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View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2022-05-20 14:35
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Mr. Chair, is this a Liberal motion?
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:35
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Mr. Fortin, because it's from a member who's not a sitting member of this committee. It has to be moved in order to do it. It came from MP Erskine-Smith.
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View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2022-05-20 14:36
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I think I misunderstood, Mr. Chair.
You're telling me that the Liberals aren't supporting their own motion.
Is that correct?
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:36
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Mr. Fortin, it means that nobody in the room—a member of this committee—is moving that forward.
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View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
2022-05-20 14:36
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So I'm going to move this motion, Mr. Chair.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:36
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Okay, Mr. Fortin.
If you move Liberal amendment 1, I will deem it out of scope. It's in the opinion of the chair that allowing the court to impose a lesser punishment than any minimum punishment in the Criminal Code goes beyond the scope of the bill. Therefore, I rule the amendment inadmissible.
Next we have Green Party amendment 40 on page 58.
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View Randall Garrison Profile
NDP (BC)
I have a point of order, Mr. Chair. This question of members of other parties who aren't members of the committee submitting amendments should probably be dealt with.
My understanding of the motion that was passed in all committees is that independents are allowed to submit motions to committees, and they will be deemed moved. I did not believe that members of other parties—just any member of Parliament—could submit amendments to the committee.
I'd just like to know if that's not a correct interpretation of the the rules of this committee.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:37
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I believe that, if it's an independent, it's deemed moved. If it is not an independent, then someone has to move it. In this case, nobody from the Liberal Party moved it, but a member from the Bloc, who is on this committee, did move it forward.
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View Randall Garrison Profile
NDP (BC)
I understand the difference between deemed moved and moved. My question is whether our rules actually allow the submission by members of other parties who are not members of the committee. I believed that was not the case.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:38
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My interpretation from our clerk is that any member of Parliament can submit, but it would have to be moved by a member of this committee. If he or she subbed in, then they're deemed a member at that time.
Thank you, Mr. Garrison.
We're going on to Green Party amendment 40. The chair rules that this is out of scope. In the opinion of the chair, prohibition orders are a type of order not contemplated by Bill C-5 and are, therefore, beyond the scope of the bill. Accordingly, I rule the amendment inadmissible.
(On clause 14)
We have Green Party amendment 41. I believe Mr. Morrice would like to.... No? Okay.
(Amendment negatived: nays 10; yeas 1 [See Minutes of Proceedings])
(Clause 14 agreed to: yeas 6; nays 5)
(Clause 15 agreed to: yeas 6; nays 5)
(On clause 16)
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:41
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For clause 16, we have amendment CPC-12.
Mr. Moore, would you like to say anything on it?
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View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-05-20 14:41
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
In many of our ridings, and indeed across Canada, there is a serious crisis when it comes to drugs. Much has been said about Bill C-5, about so-called simple possession. Again, in the same vein as the mandatory minimums, simple possession of drugs is not what is contemplated in this piece of legislation. In fact, it deals with importing, exporting, trafficking and the production of schedule I and schedule II drugs, which include heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, etc.
These are, first, serious drugs, and second, serious crimes. They have absolutely nothing to do with simple possession. Bill C-5 eliminates the mandatory minimum penalty for trafficking, importing, exporting and distribution. Our amendment, CPC-12, maintains a six-month mandatory minimum penalty for importing and exporting illegal substances. As has been the case with many of the Conservative amendments, there is an attempt to bridge the divide between us and the government, which is seeking to eliminate many mandatory minimum penalties. We feel there is a place for them when we are talking about taking drugs off our streets and going after the people who are causing this scourge in our society.
This would maintain a six-month mandatory minimum for importing and exporting illegal substances.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:43
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Thank you.
Mr. Morrison, go ahead.
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View Rob Morrison Profile
CPC (BC)
View Rob Morrison Profile
2022-05-20 14:44
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I would like to follow-up a bit on Mr. Moore's comments. We're talking in Parliament every day, and we're not only talking about gun offences. The other thing we are talking about is the opioid and drug crisis in Canada. At the same time, we are now talking about taking away mandatory minimum penalties for drug traffickers.
That flies in the face of our trying to get a handle on what the problem really is, which is prevention and people not using drugs. Giving people drugs is not helping people to recover from using drugs. It certainly doesn't stop them from starting. In this case, here is a prime example of a legislative change that is flying in face of a serious problem with opioids and drugs in Canada.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:44
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Thank you, Mr. Morrison.
Mr. Cooper, go ahead.
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View Michael Cooper Profile
CPC (AB)
To pick up on where Mr. Morrison left off, I can't think of a more ill-timed effort to repeal mandatory jail time for what are serious drug trafficking offences with respect to schedule I and schedule II drugs, at a time when we have an opioid crisis.
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View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Randeep Sarai Profile
2022-05-20 14:44
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Your microphone, Mr. Cooper....
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