Legislative developments in Ottawa: Summaries of Bills
The mountain of paper continues to pile up in Ottawa and we are bouncing back and forth to the Hill continuously. Government Bills are of the law and order genre, and private members bills now include 2 proposals concerning adhering to UN treaties and another 2 regarding the right to housing. Please see a mere sampling of the deluge below (links are included for the adventurous among you) concerning:
1. Bill C-54, AnAct to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments tothe National Defence Act(Protecting Canadians by Ending Sentence Discounts for Multiple MurdersAct), introduced by the Minister of Justice in the House of Commons and given first reading on 28 October 2009.
2. Bill C-43, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and the Criminal Code (Strengthening Canada's Corrections System Act)
3. C-53 AnAct to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (acceleratedparole review) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
This enactment amends the Corrections and Conditional Release Actto eliminate accelerated parole review and makes consequentialamendments to other Acts. This enactment also makes coordinatingamendments in the event that the Strengthening Canada’s Corrections System Act receives royal assent.
4. C-54 An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to the National Defence Act
This enactment amends the Criminal Code with respect to theparole inadmissibility period for offenders convicted of multiplemurders. It also makes consequential amendments to the National Defence Act.
5. C-55 An Act to amend the Criminal Code:
Allows a court torequire that an offender or defendant provide a sample of a bodilysubstance on the demand of peace officers, probation officers,supervisors or designated persons, or at regular intervals, in order toenforce compliance with a prohibition on consuming drugs or alcoholimposed in a probation order, a conditional sentence order or arecognizance under section 810, 810.01, 810.1 or 810.2 of that Act.
There are also several Private Members' bills that you may be interested in:
6. C-221 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (peace officers)
This enactment amends the Criminal Code to impose more severepenalties on persons who assault peace officers and to eliminate thepossibility of parole for those who murder peace officers.
7. C-224 An Act to amend the Canadian Bill of Rights (right to housing)
This enactment amends the Canadian Bill of Rights to include the right to proper housing at a reasonable cost and free of unreasonable barriers.
8. C-231 An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (consecutive sentences)
This enactment provides that a sentence imposed for the offence of sexual assault under section 271 of the Criminal Codeis to be served consecutively to any other sentence for an offenceunder that section or section 272 or 273 to which the offender issubject at the time the sentence for sexual assault is imposed.However, the enactment also gives the sentencing judge discretion toorder that the sentence be served concurrently rather thanconsecutively where he or she is satisfied that it is appropriate to doso. Where the judge makes such an order, he or she must give both oraland written reasons for that decision.
Theenactment also provides that, where an offender is sentenced for firstor second degree murder and is, at the time the sentence is imposed,subject to a sentence for any offence other than murder, the offenderwill not be eligible for parole until he or she has served the paroleineligibility period required by law to be served for that othersentence — the lesser of one third of that sentence and seven years —and the parole ineligibility period required by law to be served forthe first or second degree murder.
Theenactment further provides that, where an offender is sentenced forfirst or second degree murder and is, at the time the sentence isimposed, subject to a sentence for another first or second degreemurder, the sentencing judge has the discretion to order, where he orshe is satisfied that it is appropriate to do so, that the offendermust — on the expiration of the parole ineligibility period the personis required by law to serve for that other murder — serve a furtherparole ineligibility period not exceeding 25 years for the murder forwhich he or she is being sentenced. However, in no case must the totalparole ineligibility period required to be served by the offenderexceed 50 years. The enactment also provides that, where the sentencingjudge does not make an order for a further period of paroleineligibility, he or she must explain, both orally and in writing, whyhe or she did not make that order.
9. C- 247 : An Act to amend the Criminal Code (bail for persons charged with violentoffences), the Extradition Act and the Youth Criminal Justice Act
This enactment repeals section 522 of the Criminal Codeto remove the power of a judge of a superior court of criminaljurisdiction to grant interim release to a person accused of one of thevery serious offences listed in section 469. These offences are
(a) an offence under any of the following sections:
(i) section 47 (treason),
(ii) section 49 (alarming Her Majesty),
(iii) section 51 (intimidating Parliament or a legislature),
(iv) section 53 (inciting to mutiny),
(v) section 61 (seditious offences),
(vi) section 74 (piracy),
(vii) section 75 (piratical acts), or
(viii) section 235 (murder);
(b) the offence of being an accessory after the fact to high treason or treason or murder;
(c) an offence under section 119 (bribery of judicial officers);
( c.1) an offence under any of sections 4 to 7 of the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act;
(d) the offence of attempting to commit any offence mentioned in any of subparagraphs (a)(i) to (vii); and
(e) the offence of conspiring to commit any offence mentioned in paragraph (a).
Theenactment also prohibits the interim release of a person accused of anoffence under section 264 (criminal harassment), 272 (sexual assaultwith a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm) or 273(aggravated sexual assault), if there is direct evidence ofidentification. It provides that, if an application for the interimrelease of such a person is brought before a justice, and the justiceis satisfied that there is credible or trustworthy evidence ofidentification of the accused by a victim or witness, the applicationmust be refused.
The enactment also makes related amendments to the Extradition Act and the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
10. C-297: An Act to ensure accountability in respect of Canada's obligations under international treaties
This enactment requires the Minister of Foreign Affairs or any ministerresponsible for implementing Canada’s international treaty obligationsto submit to each House of Parliament a report setting out Canada’sprogress in implementing the international treaties to which Canada isa signatory.
11. C-304: An Act to ensure secure, adequate, accessible and affordable housing for Canadians
The purpose of this enactment is to require the Minister responsiblefor the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to consult with theprovincial ministers of the Crown responsible for municipal affairs andhousing and with representatives of municipalities and Aboriginalcommunities in order to establish a national housing strategy.
12. C-328: An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
This enactment requires the Government of Canada to take all measuresnecessary to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with theUnited Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
13. C-331: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (arrest without a warrant)
The purpose of this enactment is to give a peace officer the power toarrest without a warrant a person who is in breach of a probation orderbinding the person or a condition of the person’s parole.
14. C-332: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (review of parole ineligibility) and to amend other Acts in consequence
Amends the Criminal Codeto repeal section 745.6 of that Act (often referred to as the “fainthope clause”), which allows a person sentenced to life imprisonment forhigh treason or murder to apply, after 15 years, for a reduction in theperiod of parole ineligibility.
The enactment also makes related amendments to the Criminal Code, and amends certain other Acts in consequence.
15. C-340: An Act to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act (publication of information)
To authorize the publication ofinformation relating to a young person who has been dealt with underthe Youth Criminal Justice Act once that person has been charged as an adult under the Criminal Code with an indictable offence or an offence punishable on summary conviction
16. C-388: Act to amend the Criminal Code (judicial discretion)
Amends the Criminal Code to allow the court, in exceptional circumstances, to impose a punishment that is less than the prescribed minimum punishment
17. C-401: An Act to establish a national literacy policy
To require the Minister of CanadianHeritage to consult with the provincial ministers of the Crownresponsible for education and literacy, experts in education andliteracy, representatives of business and labour and representatives ofthe media in order to establish a national literacy policy.
18. C-424: Act to amend the Youth Criminal Justice Act (protection of the public)
This enactment amends the Youth Criminal Justice Act to
(a) specify that the protection of the public is the primary goal of that Act;
(b) repeal the presumption in subsection 29(2) that detention is unnecessary;
(c) amend paragraph 31(5)(a)so that when the designated responsible person is relieved of his orher obligations, some of the young person’s obligations maynevertheless remain in effect;
(d) amend subsection 31(6) so that the young person may be detained in custody; and
(e) remove the time limit for a young person to attend a non-residential program.
19. C-425: Act respecting the recognition of foreign credentials
Ensures that any person who was educated and trainedoutside Canada is treated with fairness and respect and receivesassistance to integrate into the Canadian labour market, where they cancontribute their knowledge to their profession.
20. C-434: An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (day parole — six months or one sixth of the sentence rule
Amends the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to eliminatethe portion of the sentence of six months, or one sixth of thesentence, for day parole of an offender eligible for accelerated parolereview.
21. C-464: An Act to amend the Criminal Code (justification for detention in custody)
Amends the Criminal Code to provide that thedetention of an accused in custody may be justified where it isnecessary for the protection or safety of the accused’s minor children.