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Results: 1 - 15 of 68
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-09-22 14:58 [p.7561]
Mr. Speaker, just yesterday, the justice minister defended the Liberals' decision to eliminate mandatory jail times for crimes like robbery with a firearm, extortion with a firearm, weapons trafficking and drive-by shootings. This was the very same day that his constituents in Montreal learned of yet another fatal shooting, this time at the Bell Centre, home of the Montreal Canadians, a place where hockey fans and parents should be able to take their children and know they are safe.
When will the government act to protect Canadians and ensure that repeat violent offenders are put behind bars?
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-06-23 14:06 [p.7234]
Mr. Speaker, there is cause for celebration in my riding of Fundy Royal this week as our communities come together to congratulate the class of 2022. I want to extend my sincerest congratulations to all of the graduates as they celebrate this milestone with their friends and family.
They can proudly reflect on the last few years they have spent learning lessons both within and outside of the classroom. These lessons have formed a strong foundation for them to now build their futures upon. From here, they will take what they have learned and go off to make their mark on our communities, our province, our country and indeed the world. I look forward to seeing their many great accomplishments.
I send my congratulations once again to the class of 2022.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-06-22 16:38 [p.7155]
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table the official opposition's dissenting report in the review of the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act.
Since 2014, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act has been a crucial tool to protect Canadians from sexual exploitation and intervene in the buying and selling of human beings. The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act confirms to Canadians, particularly women and girls, that they are valuable and worthy of protection.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-06-22 20:43 [p.7193]
Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to be able to discuss this with the minister tonight.
As he knows, we have been given very little time for debate, as this decision came down five weeks ago. Does he agree that it would have been preferable for us to have more time to debate this bill in the House, as well as to consider expert witness testimony at committee?
I am sure he is aware that the National Association of Women and the Law, for example, has raised some concerns. We all share an interest in protecting vulnerable Canadians, but in light of how rushed this has been, is he open to consideration in the fall if this bill does need improvement?
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-06-22 21:17 [p.7198]
Madam Speaker, I want to start by thanking my colleague, the member for Elgin—Middlesex—London, for her hard work, for the comments that she just made and for all of the efforts she has made on behalf of her constituency. I thank her as well for her work on the status of women committee and for her advocacy since the Supreme Court of Canada decision to have a response from the government. I really appreciate that.
She also makes sure the voices that have not been heard so much during the drafting process of Bill C-28 are being heard in the House today and will certainly be heard as this discussion continues.
I would expect that most, if not all, members of this House would agree that addressing and eliminating violence against women and girls should be a top priority and one that is dealt with expeditiously.
Unfortunately, it has been almost 40 days since the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in the case of R. v. Brown, striking down section 33.1 of the Criminal Code. As a result of this decision, which was announced back in May, it would now be permissible to claim extreme intoxication due to drugs or alcohol as an excuse for murderers, abusers and attackers.
Conservatives have spent the last 39 days calling on the Minister of Justice to prioritize the response we are debating today. The government has control over the legislative agenda, and if it had wanted to bring this bill forward sooner, before the last days of the spring sitting, it did indeed have the power to do so. That would have allowed us a thorough debate in this House and a study at committee, where we could have heard some of the testimony that we are hearing now from the newspapers and from people writing to our offices with concerns about the bill. It should be in all of our interests, and in all Canadians' interests, that we as parliamentarians get our job right. Part of our job is drafting and voting on legislation, and we want to make sure that we hear from experts before we do that.
It took less than an hour for the Liberals to announce their intention to appeal the Alberta court decision regarding their unconstitutional anti-pipeline bill, but it has been 40 days days since the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that criminals will not be held accountable for murder if they were extremely intoxicated when they committed the crime. Why is the government turning on a dime in order to defend legislation that shuts down industries when we are just beginning debate, more than five weeks later, on the legislative response to the Supreme Court's ruling that leaves victims vulnerable?
Conservatives want to err on the side of having legislation in place sooner rather than later so that there can be an element of safety against this defence being used. However, while we can allow this bill to pass for the time being, I want to make it very clear that this is by no means the end of the discussion.
That is why we have insisted in the motion that the justice committee study this bill, this response, and that the minister appear and that the committee report back so that Parliament has an opportunity to improve this legislation if necessary.
Over the summer months, Conservatives will be speaking with stakeholders, organizations, women's groups and individuals whose voices must be heard when we are talking about strengthening the justice system. Conservatives will make sure that those voices are heard.
We know the statistics. We know that women and girls are disproportionately victims of violence and we know that the offenders in these instances are almost always male. The Liberals will try to distract Canadians from the fact that their self-proclaimed “feminist” government has been dragging its feet to address a vulnerability in the law that they were very well aware of, knowing that women and girls are most often the victims in situations like this.
Again I would like to commend the hard work of my colleague from Elgin—Middlesex—London in raising awareness of this issue through a campaign using the hashtag “#oneistoomany” on her social media.
On May 27, 14 days after the ruling came down from the Supreme Court, along with my Conservative colleagues from Elgin—Middlesex—London, Brantford—Brant and Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, I wrote a letter to the Minister of Justice to express the severity and urgency of this issue and calling for action. At that point, we thought we would see some action.
I would now like to share with the House some of what we asked for in that letter:
The decisions ruled by the Supreme Court of Canada in R v. Brown...and R v. Sullivan...imperil the safety of victims of violent physical attacks, domestic violence and sexual assault by permitting the dubious defence of non-insane automatism due to self-induced intoxication.
These offences disproportionately affect women, gender diverse individuals and vulnerable Canadians. The ruling made by the Supreme Court of Canada leaves a gap in the law that endangers the safety of communities and the lives of Canadians. This requires the utmost urgent action in order to protect Canadians, especially those at greater risk of experiencing gender-based violence.
The government must act now. It is your duty as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada to respond to these decisions, close the gaps in the law and ensure the protection of victims.
Our role as Parliamentarians is to represent the best interests of our communities regarding the law and legislation. This is an issue that affects us all, and we stand ready to assist in any way possible to work with you to ensure that there is an adequate response from parliament that prioritizes the safety and security of Canadians.
The Government of Canada owes it to the victims, survivors, and their families to act immediately.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. We eagerly await your response.
Eagerly await the minister's response we did. Now, 25 days after we first sent this to the Minister of Justice, we are finally having this discussion in the House of Commons today, just before we rise for the summer.
While Conservatives will allow the bill to proceed, we are not under any illusion that this is the end of the discussion. Rather, Conservatives have secured from the government a commitment to instruct the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to take up a study on this matter when we return in the fall. This is a very serious topic that deserves our Parliament's time and attention. We can only improve legislation when we invite expert testimony into the conversation, which this study will certainly endeavour to do, and which we have not heard up until this point.
I know from speaking with different organizations that they felt extremely rushed. They had an online consultation, but they did not feel that they were able to give adequate input on the bill, on the impact it could have and on how it can be improved, which should be in all of our interest. There are many individuals and organizations that should have been properly consulted before and during the drafting of the bill.
This is a critically important issue that we are working to solve urgently, but that does not mean we cannot put the time and resources towards making sure the law reflects the contributions and concerns of the various stakeholders who have spoken out over the last few days about where the bill can and should be improved.
For example, the National Association of Women and the Law published a press release responding to the Liberals' Bill C-28. It states:
Despite the assurances of some defence lawyers and their allies that reliance on extreme intoxication will be rare, research analyzing the extreme intoxication defence indicates that it will be raised with some regularity. Indeed, research shows that it will be used overwhelmingly by men, and that the majority of victims will be women.
They call Bill C-28 “a missed opportunity to close the door on the use of the extreme intoxication defence where alcohol alone is used.” I think that is a very worthy discussion for us as parliamentarians to have.
To be clear, this is just one stakeholder organization whose perspective and expertise we need to hear and seriously consider when we are talking about strengthening the law to better protect women. Our study of this legislation and the law that it impacts will take place in the fall, and this will ensure that experts and stakeholders are properly consulted.
It is our role and responsibility, as Her Majesty's loyal opposition, to hold the government accountable, and where we so often see the Liberals failing Canadians is when it comes to matters of justice and their obligations to victims of crime.
Conservatives will continue to raise up the voices of victims and victims' advocates. We look forward to making significant progress in strengthening Canada's laws to better protect vulnerable Canadians.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-06-22 21:28 [p.7200]
Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. parliamentary secretary for his work on the justice committee. It is good to work with him.
The point is that we have a justice committee, and when the government brings in legislation and it gets to committee, we study it and bring in experts. LEAF has made commentary and no doubt would be a witness if this bill were before our committee. Likewise, the National Association of Women and the Law has made commentary in public and would also likely be a witness at our committee.
That is the point. Without being rushed, we would be able to study this bill at committee and hopefully improve it if necessary. However, by its being introduced last Friday, we do not have that opportunity. We need to act with urgency, but in the fall we need to make sure that if there is any way to improve the law beyond this, we take further action.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-06-22 21:29 [p.7200]
Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague is absolutely right. We have heard from different organizations that the Supreme Court decision puts women at risk and that we have to act with urgency. We called on the government to act right away, because it knew there was a vulnerability there, and we know the response could have been sooner.
As I said, we waited 40 days for this, and I would have liked for those different women's organizations to give input at our committee. As some of them are suggesting, we could have improved the bill.
The hon. member is right that we need to act with urgency, making any improvement to the law to fill this gap. We need to do that now, but always with an eye to looking at how we can further strengthen the law in the future.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-06-22 21:31 [p.7200]
Madam Speaker, one of the proposals put forward by the National Association of Women and the Law is absolutely shutting the door on the defence of self-induced extreme intoxication caused solely by the consumption of alcohol. That is one proposal that I would have liked to hear some more thought and evidence on.
Also, on the threshold that is in place, there are concerns that the threshold for the prosecution to meet in order to get a conviction would be set too high by this legislation. There are suggestions of alternatives that would lower the bar for prosecution. We want to make sure that offenders are held accountable for violent acts committed against fellow Canadians and that this court decision does not result in people who should be held accountable not being held accountable.
I am always open to hearing diverse views on how we can improve and strengthen legislation, and we need to take the time at justice committee to do just that.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-06-22 22:08 [p.7205]
Madam Speaker, it warms the heart to hear my hon. colleague is proud to be a member of the House tonight. I commend him for his work on the justice committee.
In light of the compressed timeline we are dealing with, we all recognize the government needed to act with extreme urgency when this decision came down. Is the member open to working with members of all parties on the justice committee in the fall to hear from witnesses who may have ideas on how this legislation, which will have already passed by then, could perhaps warrant further amendments to the Criminal Code to best close this loophole?
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-06-16 10:47 [p.6782]
Madam Speaker, I listened intently to the parliamentary secretary's speech, but I am concerned with the timing. This bill has sat dormant for so long and is now being brought forward just before we go into summer. It brings me to another issue. We cannot talk about the judicial process or the justice system without speaking about victims and the unique place they have. They are often overlooked, I am afraid.
I would like the parliamentary secretary to comment on the fact that the position of victims ombudsman has remained vacant for far too long. It was supposed to be filled back in October. I wonder if he could comment on the process for that and why it has not been filled to date.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-06-16 10:57 [p.6784]
Madam Speaker, as we approach the final sitting days of the House before it rises, this is likely my last opportunity to speak before we all return to our ridings for the summer months. In light of this, I would like to start off my remarks today by acknowledging the great people of my riding of Fundy Royal, whom I am honoured to represent here in this 44th Parliament.
On the topic at hand, we are here today to discuss Bill C-9, an act to amend the Judges Act. I will begin by going over a bit of a summary of the bill.
The legislation would amend the Judges Act to replace the process through which the conduct of federally appointed judges is reviewed by the Canadian Judicial Council. It would establish a new process for reviewing allegations of misconduct that are not serious enough to warrant a judge’s removal from office and would make changes to the process by which recommendations regarding removal from office can be made to the Minister of Justice. As with the provisions it replaces, this new process would also apply to persons, other than judges, who are appointed under an act of Parliament to hold office during good behaviour.
In short, the objective of the legislation is to update the Judges Act to strengthen the judicial complaints process. The existing process was established in 1971, so it is due for a refresh. We can all agree that strengthening and increasing confidence in the judicial system, and taking action to better respond to complaints that it may receive from Canadians, are good things. Canadians are really depending on this Parliament to strengthen our judicial system.
As it stands, the judicial system in Canada has been weakened by COVID delays and a lack of resources for victims in particular, like, as I have mentioned, the vacant victims ombudsman position. There really is no excuse today for that when we see so many stories ripped from the headlines that impact Canadian victims. We also see legislation like the bill the parliamentary secretary just mentioned, Bill C-5. The victims we have talked to, whom we have seen and heard from at committee, are concerned about that bill and its predecessor bill, Bill C-22. The victims ombudsman had a lot to say about it.
I would love the benefit of hearing from a victims ombudsman, except we do not have one. We were supposed to have that position filled back in October, so for many, many months it has been vacant. That is completely unacceptable, not only for victims and their families but also for all Canadians. I should note that when the position of the federal ombudsman for federal offenders in our federal prison system became vacant, it was filled the next day. We can see where the government's priorities are.
Bill C-9 was originally introduced in the Senate as Bill S-5 on May 25, 2021. The previous version of the bill did not complete second reading. We heard commentary across the way about delays, with some asking why we are talking about delays. Why was that bill not passed? Well, the Prime Minister called his snap pandemic election in August 2021. That is what happened with that version of the bill.
The bill was reintroduced in the Senate last year as Bill S-3, but the government had an apparent change of heart, dropping Bill S-3 from the Senate Order Paper in December of 2021 and introducing that bill in the House of Commons as Bill C-9. That is where it has languished for months until today, just days before we go into our summer recess.
The bill would modify the existing judicial review process by establishing a process for complaints serious enough to warrant removal from office, and another process for offences that would warrant sanctions other than removal, such as counselling, continuing education and reprimands. Currently, if misconduct is less serious, a single member of the Canadian Judicial Council who conducts the initial review may negotiate with a judge for an appropriate remedy.
It may be helpful at this point to provide a bit of background on the Canadian Judicial Council, what it does and who its members are.
Established by Parliament in 1971, the Canadian Judicial Council is mandated to “promote the efficiency, uniformity, and to improve the quality of judicial services in all superior courts in Canada.” Through this mandate, the Canadian Judicial Council presides over the judicial complaints process.
The Canadian Judicial Council is made up of 41 members and is led by the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Right Hon. Richard Wagner, who is chairperson of the council. The membership is made up of chief justices and associate chief justices of the Canadian provincial and federal superior courts. The goal of the members is to improve consistency in the administration of justice before the courts and the quality of services in Canada's superior courts.
Returning back to the bill itself, the reasons a judge could be removed from office are laid out. These include infirmity, misconduct, failure in the due execution of judicial office and “the judge [being] in a position that a reasonable, fairminded and informed observer would consider to be incompatible with the due execution of judicial office.” A screening officer can dismiss complaints should they seem frivolous or improper, rather than referring to them to the review panel. A complaint that alleges sexual harassment or discrimination may not be dismissed. The full screening criteria will be published by the Canadian Judicial Council.
The minister or Attorney General may themselves request the Canadian Judicial Council establish a full hearing panel to determine whether the removal from the office of a superior court judge is justified. The Canadian Judicial Council is to submit a report within three months after the end of each calendar year with respect to the number of complaints received and the actions taken. The intention of this bill, as stated by the government, is to streamline the process for more serious complaints for which removal from the bench could be an outcome.
As I mentioned earlier, these amendments would also address the current shortcomings of the process by imposing mandatory sanctions on a judge when a complaint of misconduct is found to be justified but not to be serious enough to warrant removal from office. Again, such sanctions could include counselling, continuing education and reprimands. In the name of transparency, this legislation would require that the Canadian Judicial Council include the number of complaints received and how they were resolved in its annual public report.
To clarify, the Canadian Judicial Council’s process applies only to federally appointed judges, which are the judges of the Supreme Court of Canada and the federal courts, the provincial and territorial superior trial courts and the provincial and territorial courts of appeal. The provinces and territories are responsible for reviewing the conduct of the judges at the provincial-territorial trial court level, who are also provincially appointed.
Since its inception in 1971, the Canadian Judicial Council has completed inquiries into eight complaints considered serious enough that they could warrant a judge's removal from the bench. Four of them, in fact, did result in recommendations for removal. A ninth inquiry is under way, but has faced delays due to public health restrictions imposed by the Province of Quebec, such as curfew and indoor capacity limits.
Under the proposed new process laid out in Bill C-9, the Canadian Judicial Council would continue to preside over the judicial complaints process, which would start with a three-person review panel deciding to either investigate a complaint of misconduct or, if the complaint is serious enough that it might warrant removal from the bench, refer it to a separate five-person hearing panel. If appropriate, a three-person review panel made up of a Canadian Judicial Council member, a judge and a layperson could impose such sanctions as public apologies or courses of continuing education. If warranted, a five-person hearing panel made up of two Canadian Judicial Council members, a judge, a lawyer and a layperson could, after holding a public hearing, recommend removal from the bench to the Minister of Justice.
Judges who face removal from the bench would have access to an appeal panel made up of three Canadian Judicial Council members and two judges and finally to the Supreme Court of Canada, should the court agree to hear the appeal.
I know that sounded very convoluted and lengthy, but believe it or not, this would actually streamline the current process for court review of council decisions, which currently involves judicial review by two additional levels of court, those being the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal, before a judge can ask the Supreme Court to hear the case.
The amendments would provide for a funding mechanism for the new process. The financial impact of the review process has been raised by a number of stakeholders. I want to encourage the Liberal government to take its fiscal responsibility to taxpayers into consideration with all government policies, but this bill is as good a start as any.
I would like to take a moment to point out that we have the former leader of the Conservative Party to thank for paving the way to having this bill before the House of Commons today. The Hon. Rona Ambrose introduced her private member's bill, Bill C-337, in 2017. This legislation would require the Canadian judiciary to produce a report every year that detailed how many judges had completed training in sexual assault law and how many cases were heard by judges who had not been trained, as well as a description of the courses that were taken. It would also require any lawyer applying for a position in the judiciary to have first completed sexual assault case training and education. Last, it would result in a greater number of written decisions from judges presiding over sexual assault trials, thus providing improved transparency for Canadians seeking justice.
The original premise of Bill C-337 was in response to a complaint about the behaviour a federal judge who was presiding over a case of sexual assault in 2014. The Canadian Judicial Council of which we speak today launched an investigation into the behaviour of that judge. Ultimately, in March 2017, the Canadian Judicial Council sent a letter to the federal Minister of Justice recommending that this judge be removed from the bench, and the minister accepted the recommendation.
The bill before us today works to expedite and facilitate the complaints process so that extreme cases like the one I just referenced can be fully and properly reviewed without causing too much disruption in terms of time, costs and delays in processing smaller but still important complaints.
Earlier this year, the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights received correspondence from the Canadian Bar Association stating its support for the legislation as written in Bill C-9. In part, its letter reads as follows:
The CBA commented on the state of the judicial discipline process in its 2014 submission to the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC). On the subject of judicial discipline proceedings, our 16 recommendations were to ensure that the objectives of balancing the independence of the judiciary and the public’s confidence in the administration of justice were respected in the process. The CJC and Justice Canada responded with its own reports, which culminated in the present amendments to the Judges Act proposed by the Minister of Justice.
The letter from the Canadian Bar Association goes on to say:
In the view of the CBA Subcommittee, Bill C-9 strikes a fair balance between the right to procedural fairness and public confidence in the integrity of the justice system with the discipline of judges who form the core of that system. The proposed amendments enhance the accountability of judges, builds transparency, and creates cost-efficiencies in the process for handling complaints against members of the Bench.
I would like to pause here briefly just to say that at a moment like this, looking at a bill like this, it seems to me that it would be a very good time to have a federal ombudsman for victims of crime to hear the perspective on how the judicial complaints process is or is not currently working and how this bill would or would not be able to meet those challenges or rectify those concerns.
In testimony given to the justice committee on June 3, 2021, the federal ombudsman for victims of crime at that time raised what she described as a “most critical” issue, which was the legal recourse or remedy that victims have if their rights are violated.
She stated:
Currently, victims do not have a way to enforce the rights given to them in law; they only have a right to make a complaint to various agencies. This means that victims have to rely on the goodwill of criminal justice officials and corrections officials to give effect to or implement their statutory rights under the bill. This means victims count on police, Crown prosecutors, courts, review boards, corrections officials and parole boards to deliver, uphold and respect their rights.
But my office continues to receive complaints from victims that are common across all jurisdictions in Canada. Victims report to us that they are not consistently provided information about their rights or how to exercise them, they feel overlooked in all of the processes, and they have no recourse when officials don't respect their rights.
While the bill we are discussing today is, as I said earlier, a step in the right direction, there is certainly more work that needs to be done to make sure our justice system in Canada works for everyone who comes into contact with it, and I will add especially victims. One way this can be achieved is by immediately filling the position of federal ombudsman for victims of crime, which has now been vacant for nine months. There is absolutely no excuse for this position to have remained vacant for nine months when other positions are filled immediately, including, as I mentioned earlier, the position of ombudsman for those who are in our federal prisons.
By contrast, as I was mentioning, when the offenders ombudsman position became vacant, the Liberal government filled it the very next day, as it should have been. It should be filled right away, but so should the position of the ombudsman for victims of crime.
In 2021, the Canadian Judicial Council published “Ethical Principles for Judges”. I would like to reference excerpts from this publication to add some context into the role and duty of the judiciary.
They read as follows:
An independent and impartial judiciary is the right of all and constitutes a fundamental pillar of democratic governance, the rule of law and justice in Canada....
Today, judges’ work includes case management, settlement conferences, judicial mediation, and frequent interaction with self-represented litigants. These responsibilities invite further consideration with respect to ethical guidance. In the same manner, the digital age, the phenomenon of social media, the importance of professional development for judges and the transition to post-judicial roles all raise ethical issues that were not fully considered twenty years ago. Judges are expected to be alert to the history, experience and circumstances of Canada’s Indigenous peoples, and to the diversity of cultures and communities that make up this country. In this spirit, the judiciary is now more actively involved with the wider public, both to enhance public confidence and to expand its own knowledge of the diversity of human experiences in Canada today.
As was just referenced, social context and society overall change over time, and critical institutions like the justice system must grow to reflect these changes. Much of the time, this simply requires education on emerging issues or a more updated perspective on older issues.
In order to grow, there is a crucial partnership that must be respected between the judiciary and Parliament. While the Parliament and the courts are separate entities, there is a back-and-forth conversation between the two that is essential to our democracy and our judiciary. We have recently seen examples in which that conversation, unfortunately, was desperately lacking. On Friday, May 27, of this year, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the punishment of life without parole in cases concerning mass murderers.
When confronted on the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Liberal government is determined to stick to their talking points by telling Parliament and concerned Canadians that we should not worry about mass killers actually receiving parole, because that possible outcome is extremely rare. What that actually means is that this government is comfortable putting these families through a revictimizing, retraumatizing parole process, even though, at the end of the day, it is essentially all for show because, according to the government, we just need to trust that a mass killer will not receive parole anyway.
In the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling, the decision stated, “A life sentence without a realistic possibility of parole presupposes the offender is beyond redemption and cannot be rehabilitated. This is degrading in nature and incompatible with human dignity. It amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.”
What the court is saying here is that keeping mass killers behind bars for the number of years that a judge has already decided would adequately reflect the gravity of their crimes amounts to “cruel and unusual punishment”. Personally, I and many others feel and believe that having the victims' families endure a parole hearing every two years for the rest of their lives is the real cruel and unusual punishment, and the federal government has a duty and a responsibility to respond to the court’s decision, something that it has not done and has shown no inclination to do.
Essentially, the Supreme Court also ruled on May 13 that one can drink one’s way out of a serious crime. We have called on the government to respond to that as well, and we look forward to debate on the response that needs to be coming. Just because the Supreme Court has made these rulings does not mean that this is the end of the road. What it means is that there is a discussion and a dialogue that has to take place, and now the ball is in our court. It is for us to deal with these decisions in Parliament. The Liberals can now create legislation that responds to the Supreme Court’s decisions, and this legislation can be used to make sure that victims, survivors and their families can live in a country where they are equally protected and respected by our justice system.
Bill C-9, an act to amend the Judges Act, is a step in the right direction. I will note that there is much, much more to be done to make sure that the justice system is fair and balanced for all.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-06-16 11:18 [p.6787]
Madam Speaker, I agree with the hon. member wholeheartedly that we need to put more emphasis on victims. What is really troubling is that in past versions of this bill and past versions of Bill C-5, we had commentary from the office of the victims ombudsman. It is important for us to have someone who speaks for victims. It should not be up to victims only to speak for themselves.
Unfortunately, in the last nine months that voice, which is so important, has not been there to speak to this, other legislation, or Supreme Court of Canada decisions, all of which greatly impact victims and their families, and the position remains vacant. I am urgently calling, and have been for months now, on the government to fill the position of ombudsman for victims of crime.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-06-16 11:20 [p.6787]
Madam Speaker, I think any time we can incorporate more views of victims and the impact of offences or misconduct on the victim, we absolutely should. That was the commentary of the ombudsman for victims of crime, where she said that, too often, no one is looking out for victims and their voice is not heard during the process. We understand there are many issues that are paramount for victims right now. Ironically, I am citing someone whose position remains vacant, and that is the ombudsman for victims of crime.
I am pleased to work with my hon. colleague on strengthening this bill and others, and the role that victims play in our processes.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-06-16 11:21 [p.6787]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his steadfast support for victims.
It is always concerning to me. I currently sit on the justice committee and when we discuss a bill, for example Bill C-5, which we voted on this week, often the word “victim” does not come up in the conversation whatsoever. It is often said that justice delayed is justice denied, so one avenue of improvement with this bill is streamlining the process for offences that do not warrant removal from the bench so that we would have an outcome and have an impact on the judge who is the subject of the complaint sooner rather than later, as is currently the case with a too protracted process.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
View Rob Moore Profile
2022-06-16 11:23 [p.6788]
Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague is quite right. There are many different judges and many different types of law in the cases that they are presiding over. However, the fact is that there needs to be a robust complaints process in place. Misconduct could take place both inside and outside of the courtroom and is not necessarily confined, as the member mentioned, to criminal cases.
We look to this bill as an improvement on the existing process, particularly for offences that do not warrant removal but warrant some type of sanction that could include training or otherwise. As I mentioned, justice delayed is justice denied, so we look at having a streamlined process as an improvement, but by no means is this the end of the conversation. As has come up many times now in questions and answers, victims have to play a more prominent role, both in this and throughout our criminal justice system.
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