Policy Update – A ‘tough’ Canada: CCJC’s views on the most recent developments

In October of last year, Canada’s government introduced its Tackling Violent Crime Act – Bill C-2 – into the House of Commons. This Bill includes changes to increase mandatory minimum sentences and harsher penalties for gun crimes. Because it was declared a confidence motion, and there is no openness to discuss possible amendments, opposition parties were required to choose between passing the Bill as is, or facing a new election campaign… Read More(pdf)

On Friday, February 22, 2008, represented CCJC before the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs on Bill C-2. Unfortunately, despite the efforts of CCJC and many like-minded organizations, the Bill did pass Senate with no amendments. An article by Jane Taber published February 27, 2008 by The Globe and Mail highlighted very appropriately the reasoning behind this decision:

” (…) with two of the issues – the budget and extending Canada’s mission in Afghanistan – resolved, an election over the crime bill would be a disaster for the Liberals. Insiders say it would have given the Tories three great points on which to criticize them during a campaign: they could claim that the Liberal Leader is weak because he could not control his senators; that an expensive election was triggered by unelected senators; and that the Liberals are soft on crime. Yesterday afternoon, Mr. Dion met with Liberal senators and impressed upon them “the importance of passing the legislation while respecting the work they do,” his spokeswoman, Leslie Swartman, said. By the end of the afternoon, the bill had passed unamended through the committee stage and will likely be through the entire Senate tomorrow. Said Liberal Senate spokesman Marc Roy: “Even though many flaws have been identified by witnesses testifying before the committee, Liberal senators chose not to amend the bill because the government made it very clear that amendments would not be evaluated on their merit but rather used as an excuse to call an election.”

To read the full article, click here.

To read CCJC’s brief to the Senate Committee, please follow this link (pdf).

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