Evidence of meeting #78 for Justice and Human Rights in the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was chair.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Matthew Taylor  General Counsel and Director, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice
Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Jean-François Lafleur

5:05 p.m.

Bloc

Rhéal Fortin Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

No.

5:05 p.m.

An hon. member

Yes.

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Lena Metlege Diab

I'm not sure what I'm hearing. Can we have a recorded...?

Go ahead, Mr. Moore.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Moore Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

It's no, Madam Chair, for these reasons.

I don't understand how, having Bill S-12, we now see the government making amendments. What this amendment would do would give more consideration to the privacy interests of the accused when contemplating the privacy interests of a person subject to a publication ban. That is not what we heard at committee. That's the exact opposite of what we heard at committee. We had victims who went through the worst possible situations in their lives. They feel revictimized by the justice system.

I don't understand where this amendment is coming from when the government is amending its own legislation.

Conservatives will be voting against this amendment.

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Lena Metlege Diab

I have Mr. Brock.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Brock Conservative Brantford—Brant, ON

Thank you, Madam Chair.

I wholeheartedly endorse my colleague's comments. I wish to put on the record as well that the only way I see this actually having any impact—and this is currently what happens routinely before the court—is that the privacy interests of the accused generally will occur in terms of publication bans when identifying the accused might compromise the integrity and privacy interests of the victim.

In other words, if a victim has been sexually abused by the accused in a familial relationship, it's automatic that in those situations the privacy interests of the accused have application and, in those situations, their name plus the name of the victim would be subject to a publication ban. This particular amendment does not speak to that, and I think for broader reasons it should be defeated.

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Lena Metlege Diab

Mr. Garrison is next.

October 19th, 2023 / 5:05 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

I don't read this amendment the same way. What I read this amendment doing is precisely what the Conservatives are talking about. It removes any ability of the accused, by not including them in this clause, to make use of privacy rights in a case like this. I think it actually accomplishes exactly the opposite of what the Conservative members are arguing.

I guess I'll be fair to the government. This was a government bill that was amended in the Senate, so this has gotten quite complex, because it has already been amended in the other House and comes back to us with those amendments in place. This I think clarifies the original intention, and I think it does what those who are survivors wanted: to make sure that the accused can't make use of privacy rights in these proceedings.

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Lena Metlege Diab

Mr. Fortin, you have the floor.

5:10 p.m.

Bloc

Rhéal Fortin Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

I, too, am against the way it's presented. The proposed wording in the bill to which the amendment relates specifies that the court that made an order, or any other court, is required to vary or revoke the order when requested, “unless the court is of the opinion that to do so may affect the privacy interests of any person other than the accused.”

Through amendment G‑7, it is proposed to remove “other than the accused.” This means that the court will make the order and will have to take into account the accused's right to privacy. If a victim says that the order should be modified for this or that reason and the court is of the opinion that this will harm the accused, it will not be able to modify the order.

I agree with what Mr. Garrison was saying. It's true that the text is complex and that you have to take the time to read it carefully. However, if you read it carefully, you realize that amendment G‑7 would have the effect of protecting the accused, to the detriment of the victim. It would give the accused a say in whether or not the publication ban is modified. Again, I think this is counterproductive. I say that with all due respect.

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Lena Metlege Diab

All right. Thank you for your comments.

Shall G-7 carry?

(Amendment agreed to: yeas 6; nays 5 [See Minutes of Proceedings])

5:10 p.m.

Bloc

Rhéal Fortin Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

I can't believe it.

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Lena Metlege Diab

Shall clause 4 as amended—

5:10 p.m.

Bloc

Rhéal Fortin Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Is G-7 defeated?

I'm sorry, Madam Chair, but I didn't quite understand. Did you say that the amendment had been defeated?

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Lena Metlege Diab

No, no, Mr. Fortin. On the contrary, the amendment is adopted.

Shall clause 4 as amended carry?

(Clause 4 as amended agreed to)

That's carried. Thank you.

We have clause 5 and clause 6. There are no amendments submitted for either of those clauses. Can I get unanimous consent to group them together for the vote and ask if clauses 5 and 6 shall carry?

5:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Lena Metlege Diab

Okay. Both of those are carried—

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Moore Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

You asked for unanimous consent to group them, just to be clear. Now we would consider them.

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Lena Metlege Diab

Then let's consider them now.

Shall clauses 5 and 6 carry?

(Clauses 5 and 6 agreed to)

(On clause 7)

We have CPC-4.

Can somebody please move that?

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Moore Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Thank you, Madam Chair. I'm going to move this amendment.

This goes to the heart of our justice system in how it treats the victims of sexual offences and how it protects our communities.

The sex offender registry, prior to the Supreme Court decision, required the automatic registration of individuals who had committed certain sexual offences. There are nine members of the Supreme Court. A five-to-four decision, with a very strong dissent, found that this automatic listing violated the Constitution. They gave the government a year to respond. Now we're up against that deadline. That deadline is at the end of this month.

What has come back with Bill S-12 does not go far enough, in my opinion. For example, for an automatic listing now on the sex offender registry, if you read the dissent in the Supreme Court decision, you see that they said that judges were not properly exercising their discretion by excluding individuals. The federal registry had only a 50% inclusion rate. That was the same as in Ontario, where, when it was left to discretion, there was only about 50% inclusion. The Supreme Court found that an offender on the registry is eight times more likely to offend than someone in the general public. There is a pressing reason to have sex offenders on the sex offender registry. That has been established.

This is what Bill S-12 says, under proposed subsection 490.012(1). In order for someone to be automatically listed, it requires that:

(a) the designated offence was prosecuted by indictment;

(b) the sentence for the designated offence is a term of imprisonment of two years or more; and

—this is key, that “and” word—

(c) the victim of the designated offence is under the age of 18 years.

That is how an automatic listing on the registry would take place. This is far too narrow. That is why I've introduced our amendment, which would delete proposed paragraphs 490.012(1)(a) and (b) on page 11 of the bill, so that all designated offences, regardless, proceeding by way of summary or indictment, if they are committed against a child victim—someone under the age of 18—will require mandatory registration. We heard testimony that suggests that this would meet the decision laid out by the Supreme Court.

I would urge members to consider broadening this piece of legislation so that we can protect child victims of sexual offences, protect our communities against sex offenders and require the mandatory listing in the sex offender registry of individuals who commit an offence against a victim who is under 18 years of age. That is what this amendment does.

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Lena Metlege Diab

Before anyone else speaks, I have two things. One is that we will go until 6:30 p.m. if we don't finish tonight. We have the room until 6:30. We might be able to finish in 10 minutes.

The other thing is that, procedurally, if CPC-4 is adopted, then CPC-5 and CPC-6 cannot be moved due to a line conflict.

Go ahead, Mr. Caputo.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Frank Caputo Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

On a point of order, Madam Chair, I believe unanimous consent is required to push the meeting beyond its time. I would love to stay here, but both Mr. Brock and I do have flights.

It's rather unfortunate that we are here. This has been said so many times. The decision came down on October 29, 2022, and here we are rushing. We'll have to pick it up at some other time.

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Lena Metlege Diab

I will get advice from the table on that and get back to you. It's not up to me. I do know that we received notice that we have until 6:30 p.m.

Let me get advice, but let's continue with the.... We may not need it.

We're on CPC-4.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Frank Caputo Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

I'll just be clear that I would like to stay but I cannot.

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Lena Metlege Diab

Does anyone wish to speak on that one?

I have Mr. Brock on CPC-4.