June 10, 1993

?

Some hon. members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
Permalink
?

Some hon. members:

No.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
Permalink
PC

Charles Deblois (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBlois):

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
Permalink
?

Some hon. members:

Yea.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
Permalink
PC

Charles Deblois (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBlois):

All those opposed will please say nay.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
Permalink
?

Some hon. members:

Nay.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
Permalink
PC

Charles Deblois (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBlois):

In my opinion the nays have it.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
Permalink
?

Some hon. members:

On division.

Motion No. 2 negatived.

June 10, 1993

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
Permalink
LIB

Mary Catherine Clancy

Liberal

Ms. Mary Clancy (for Mr. Rideout) moved:

Motion No. 3.

That Bill C-126 be amended by adding immediately after line 16 at

page 13 the following:

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
Permalink

REVIEW OF ACT


"19. (1) A comprehensive review of the provisions of this Act shall be undertaken by December 31, 1998, by such committee of the House of Commons as may be designated or established by the House for that purpose. (2) The committee referred to in subsection (1) shall, within a year after the review is undertaken or within such further time as the House of Commons may authorize, submit a report on the review to the House including a statement of any changes the committee recommends." She said: Mr. Speaker, this amendment builds into the legislation a five-year review clause. I want to congratulate my colleague, the hon. member for Moncton, for his private member's bill in this area and also for bringing forward this amendment. The reason for this, among other things, is the concern about the lack of consultation. I would like at this point to commend the work done in the legislative committee by the chair, by the parliamentary secretary, by the NDP status of women critic. All members worked together to try to create the best bill we could in this area. I think one thing we may have forgotten at the committee stage was the possibility of a five-year review. This is not an unprecedented move in this House. There have been review clauses in other bills. I am thinking of the legislation on prostitution on the civil side. The Employment Equity Act was subject to a five-year review. I have been asked why five years when certain other bills have had three years or thereabouts as a review. The reason for the five years in this particular case was the probable necessity for a case on this matter to filter its way through to the highest court in the land. Five years seemed a reasonable compromise in that case. I merely suggest that this might be something that could give us an opportunity to redress some of the ill feeling arising from the lack of consultation. I would ask for the support of the House on this amendment.


NDP

Dawn Black

New Democratic Party

Ms. Dawn Black (New Westminster-Burnaby):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in support of this motion, which calls for a statutory review of the bill.

Government Orders

There is the potential that five years down the road we will see some difficulties with the bill because of the way it is worded or the way that the wording is interpreted. In fact one of the government amendments that added to the bill the words "in all the circumstances" I am concerned may serve only to confuse the issue rather than clarify it. The amendment that is proposed would give us the opportunity to correct the legislation as we watch how it is interpreted by the courts.

I hope that whatever government is in power at the time would then engage in a full consultation rather than the process we have gone through here in trying to rush the bill through within a few days, and actually rush amendments through within a few short hours.

I am concerned that down the road we may have women coming to us saying that the bill is not as effective as it could be because of the way it has been interpreted or the lack of enforcement around the bill. We may be told that because criminal harassment is a hybrid offence, because of the way the bill is currently worded with no minimum penalties for repeated offences, that the men who are harassing these women are still stalking them because all these offenders received was probation or a small fine. I am concerned that more women may die.

Down the road we may have the labour movement coming to us with examples of where this legislation was misused to intimidate those who are engaged in legitimate labour disputes. It is clear that the government is not willing to move on some of the more serious flaws that some of us have identified in the bill.

For instance, it moved on the question of intent but not in the way recommended by the Government of Manitoba. The wording of the Government of Manitoba on this was explicit and very clear. It would have made it a crime to engage in harassing conduct which causes another person to reasonably fear for their safety.

This would be a crime of general intent where one must address the issue of intending to engage in the conduct. It is simpler and more direct than adding the test of knowing the other person is harassed or proving recklessness.

In a rather typical case which took place in Toronto, a woman was harassed by an ex-boyfriend for six months. She would stop at a restaurant, he would walk in and sit at the next table. She would go shopping, he would be lurking around. She would try to sleep at night and he would be banging on her doors and windows in a rage. She found notes on her car, on utility poles, on bus

June 10,1993

Government Orders

shelters from him wanting her to take him back. He thought that he had the right to control her.

The police for a very long time did not take this behaviour seriously. Everything he did was well within a defence that he did not intend to harass her. He could say he did not know he was harassing her. He did not know of the risks that he would be harassing her. All he wanted to do was to express his love, so he could get back with her.

If that mental element cannot be proven, he can be acquitted even though her life and movements have been seriously curtailed by his controlling her and her fear for her safety. The problem is engaging in conduct that causes another person to fear for their safety. Proving the attention to engage in the contact should be the issue rather than proving knowledge that the other person feels harassed.

The government addressed the concerns about reasonable fear by adding to the bill "in all the circumstances" but I do not believe that this makes the bill clearer at all.

The committee stage of this bill was a rush process. It was pushed through in undue haste. The whole process of clause by clause was only a few hours.

Most of my amendments were defeated, including one to provide minimum penalties for repeat offenders and an exemption for labour disputes which was turned down again today. I proposed other amendments that were recommended by women's organizations, by provincial governments, such as the removal of the word "reasonable" and the addition of "lawful authority or purpose".

As well, I proposed an amendment to the child witness portion. The bill reads that "if so ordered a child and a support person cannot communicate with each other during testimony". If a very frightened five-year old child who has been sexually assaulted and is now in a court room surrounded by strangers in a very intimidating area, turns to the support person and says: "I am scared. I want to go home", this might give the defence counsel grounds to throw out the case.

The problem is not the child communicating with the support person or the support person nodding or passing

a Kleenex. That is not the problem. What the bill is trying to get at, and what my amendment clarified, is that the support person should not communicate with the child in order to lead the testimony.

I am glad that in response to one of my amendments the government withdrew clause 7 of its bill on spousal conspiracy. More efforts need to be put into educating the judiciary about violence and control in spousal relationships to ensure that abused women are not revictimized by charges of conspiracy.

However I was generally disappointed that this bill was brought forward so late and that we did not have the time to review it very thoroughly to ensure that what we are doing is what we really want to do as parliamentarians.

Otto Von Bismarck once said that if you like sausages or if you like laws, do not watch either being made. I think that is quite appropriate in this case.

The consultation on the child protection portions of the bill was deemed to be adequate by child advocates. There was contact with the concerned organizations over many years and the justice committee has been reviewing the implementation of Bill C-15 which addresses some similar issues.

The consultation around the stalking portion unfortunately was very minimal and inadequate and I believe we have the potential to see problems arise because of it.

I hope that all members will support this amendment to review the bill after five years. I think it is important. It will give parliamentarians and the public at large a mandated opportunity to examine how the bill has been interpreted.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   REVIEW OF ACT
Permalink
PC

Rob Nicholson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Rob Nicholson (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and Minister of State (Agriculture)):

Mr. Speaker, let me give a couple of comments with respect to the whole process by which this bill is before Parliament.

It has been my experience with all the changes we have made to the Criminal Code, that among other criticisms directed at us, we are told that either we are too slow in bringing in the legislation or we are rushing the legislation. It is usually one or the other.

June 10, 1993

I do not apologize for either the timing or the number of bills before this Parliament. If we look at the five years of the 34th Parliament I would be surprised, and I think I am correct in saying this, there has not been one month that this House has not been seized with justice legislation, all of it designed to make this country a better and safer place in which to live, all of it I believe bringing much needed improvement to the criminal justice process. So I do not apologize for it at all. I am very pleased and honoured to have been part of it.

With respect to the present bill I am delighted that Parliament is seized with this issue. Not less than a month ago I presented a petition from 6,400 individuals, mainly from the city of Niagara Falls but throughout the Niagara peninsula, calling upon Parliament to bring in anti-stalking legislation.

Hon. members can say: "You should have waited. You should have postponed this to the fall. You should have conducted the committee hearings this summer. You should have done a lot of things". I can say from my point of view I am delighted that we are here, that we are doing this, that Parliament is discussing it this afternoon. This is a good improvement to the law. It builds upon this government's commitment to do something about violence directed against women and children.

I mention children. Quite frankly the provisions that allow us for the first time to ban convicted child molesters from hanging around parks and from participating in voluntary organizations like the Boy Scouts and Big Brothers were not mentioned enough during the committee process. Convicted child molesters can now be banned from participating in those organizations. I think that is great.

This is in combination with the child pornography bill that is also before Parliament. I hope and pray that can get through Parliament as well. This month of June 1993 is a bad month for child molesters in Canada. I am very proud and very determined and make no apologies to anyone for the course we are on.

With respect to the amendment the hon. member mentioned, I can appreciate that every piece of legislation as proposed at the committee stage will be reviewed in three or five years. I wonder whether it is necessary on two counts.

Government Orders

I believe the Access to Information Act was mentioned by one hon. member. It was a completely new change to the parliamentary system. I can see the logic of building in a three or five-year review process. With respect to the child abuse sections it was a fundamental change as to the way we treat children in our criminal justice system, and there was a review process of that.

This legislation builds on what we have already done. The provisions with respect to children and the rules with respect to cross-examination build on Bill C-15. The provisions with respect to sexual harassment are an extension of the intimidation sections in the Criminal Code. For the most part this is not unique. This is not a break with the past. This is building on what we already have.

I have another concern with respect to this matter. I do not think we should have to wait five years or six years to do this type of thing. The Department of Justice monitors all the changes made by Parliament. It monitors them on a continuing basis.

For instance, when the Young Offenders Act came into effect in 1984 we did not wait five years to change it. I remember the minister bringing in amendments concerning fleeing young people and being able to publicize their names and faces for the first time. We did not wait for a five-year review of the Young Offenders Act. He brought it forth in 1985.

We did not wait another five years before we got into the business of changing quite substantially the test of whether a young person who has committed violent or dangerous crime should be moved to an adult court. I mean we were not tied into it.

I can see what would happen with this legislation. If in three or four years we start thinking that perhaps there were some modifications we would make, the argument we will be met with will be that a parliamentary committee will be looking at it within the year. It has another year to report and then Parliament might be seized with it. That would act as an impediment. That may slow down the process. In the example I gave with respect to the Young Offenders Act there was no waiting five years if we believed there was a flaw.

I can tell the House that the department and all parliamentarians will watch very closely how this piece of legislation works. I do not think there should be any impediment, moral, legal or otherwise, to our changing it again. We have changed it. As I said we have changed the

June 10,1993

Government Orders

Criminal Code many times since we have become the government. I think all the changes were in the right direction. We were not tied into a process whereby we were waiting five years and then one year for the parliamentary committee to report and then having the government seized with making changes.

I would ask the House to turn this amendment down.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   REVIEW OF ACT
Permalink
IND

John Patrick (Pat) Nowlan

Independent Conservative

Mr. Pat Nowlan (Annapolis Valley-Hants):

Mr. Speaker, I will just make a very short comment on this amendment because I think a couple of other members want to speak.

I know the parliamentary secretary wants to move the matter along. Quite frankly I may surprise the parliamentary secretary because my objection to the amendment really was the five-year period. I have the greatest respect for the member for Halifax who moved the amendment for the member for Moncton.

I was involved in legislation when I sat on the other side where there were review procedures under the National Transportation Act. I think it was three years. I was bothered by the five-year period. I listened quite seriously to the parliamentary secretary. I frankly think he makes a good case.

It is a new bill. I commend the member from Westminster who the member for Winnipeg Transcona mentioned. I was here when she introduced her private member's bill. I have concern as other members have mentioned-she certainly did in her thoughtful speech- about this legislation because there were some serious issues involved in it.

Other interest groups outside the House have raised serious questions but I tend to agree with the parliamentary secretary. We know there is an issue. All members want to try to resolve this horror of stalking people, basically women. I am not talking about children; they are stalked too.

There is not a member in the House who has not had some constituent in that type of situation. There is no doubt about it. We cannot get away from it. We try to equalize everything. There is emancipation of men and women. The fact of the matter is that with the law of the land and the way women are treated unfortunately by

some men they are still at a very real disadvantage in many ways.

Will the bill meet all the problems? Obviously there will still be some horrors occurring in our streets, towns and cities, but at least the bill is trying to address the problem.

I do feel a five-year review could very well be an impediment. I would hope the new government after the next election will be watching this matter. I do not think we will wait for the Supreme Court of Canada to decide five years down the road that it is an interesting time to review it. I tend to share the views of the parliamentary secretary.

Just briefly on the Young Offenders Act which is also included in the bill, I tell the House I have just had a questionnaire returned. The number of replies absolutely boggled my mind. I have sent out a few questionnaires in my term as a member. Never before have I had more returned and signed with the comment page filled with substance.

Some people do not think these questionnaires are even read. Other than members' pensions which get a real response from members, some of whom have tried to address it, one thing that surprised me was the reaction of the public on the need to reform the Young Offenders Act. I appreciate what the parliamentary secretary said. I was here when the Young Offenders Act came in. I was here in 1985 when the amendments came in.

In view of the horrors with young offenders and because of protection under that law, I am afraid the new Parliament better not wait for a year or two years but it better address the issue. It really has had a lot of response, certainly from my constituents. It is one of the consistent themes in the over 2,000 questionnaires I have received back.

Some may wonder about 2,000 questionnaires. I do not know how much experience some members have had, but I remember Pierre Elliott Trudeau in his heyday in 1968 sent out a questionnaire to his riding of Mount Royal of 50,000-plus and he received 760 back. He thought that was great. In my history, other than having sent out the last one, we get about 1,000 back. Just three years ago they did not even sign. There is always a little hook to get a constituent to sign so they can perhaps go

June 10, 1993

on a mailing list. What really impressed me was that over two-thirds signed and made substantive comments.

In conclusion the parliamentaiy secretary has a good point on the five-year period. TTiat is way too long. I hope it will weigh on the conscience of a new government to make sure it happens even quicker to meet the exigencies of the situation. The new Parliament had better address the Young Offenders Act because that is a scar on the conscience of society that has to be met.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   REVIEW OF ACT
Permalink
PC

Alan Redway

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Alan Redway (Don Valley East):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to indicate once again my strong support for the bill and to address the issue of a review.

It is ironic that the government party, my own party, has for some time, particularly when we were on the other side of the House, advocated reviews of legislation and sunset clauses in legislation.

At the same time our party in government has in fact instituted in some cases reviews after a period of time. I think particularly of the employment equity legislation which has provisions in it for a review, first of all after five years and subsequently a review every three years after that.

I had the honour and the privilege of chairing the review committee on the Employment Equity Act after five years. It was set up in accordance with the legislation which had a review provision that it was to be reviewed in five years. It was set up over a year ago. The committee brought in a review report in a relatively short period of time. It was set up in November 1991. It brought in its report in early May 1992. We have yet to receive a response from the government with respect to that review.

This points out the difficulties that we face when we do have these review provisions. I share the concerns of opposition members that we should have a review provision. However, I think as the parliamentary secretary has pointed out, even where we have reviews we know that there are difficulties actually implementing recommendations that the review has put before the government. There are instances though where the government has acted well before a five-year period to bring in amendments that do make sense and that are very effective.

I am not quite sure, based on my experience here with this question of a review, whether we are any further

Government Orders

ahead to put it in legislation or not. I think that if a review makes sense then it is going to happen. If it is just in there for the sake of having a review, as we have seen with the employment equity legislation, it can go on forever and we do not get any resolution in any event.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   REVIEW OF ACT
Permalink
NDP

Ross Harvey

New Democratic Party

Mr. Ross Harvey (Edmonton East):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak in support of the amendment proposed today by the hon. member for Halifax. In doing so I wish to note at the outset that I, as do the rest of my colleagues in the New Democratic Party caucus, support the bill itself. We are seeking here merely to provide for its eventual improvement.

The thing that must be borne in mind as we consider the merits of this amendment is that with this bill we are embarking on very fresh territory in Canadian law. We are moving into areas of conduct, behaviour and pathology that we have never before entered into through the Criminal Code. This being the case, prudence dictates that we monitor closely, and at some fixed time review the operations of the act. To fail to do so would be to abandon a responsibility that is placed on us precisely because this is so new an element in Canadian law.

I do not believe that any prudent government would allow the operation of this law without close scrutiny and indeed a formal review at some point following the coming into force of the law. However I must say that the current government has engaged in many activities that I would have thought no sane government would do.

To say that we should at this point sort of accept the fact that it is understood that this is a brand new departure and that in consequence we may simply rely on the government in its own good time and in its own good fashion, to undertake whatever review is necessary is a pleasant thought, but it is not one with which I am wholly comfortable. Rather I would suggest, as this amendment proposes, that we retain in this House the authority and the ability five years hence to undertake our own review of the operations of this bill.

Again I would suggest that simple prudence dictates this, especially given the questions and concerns that are still out among sections of the public regarding the bill. I think for example of the amendment proposed today by the hon. member for New Westminster-Burnaby concerning labour disputes which has been defeated in this House. That concern is still there.

June 10, 1993

Government Orders

I think, as well, of the concerns that have been publicly and forcefully expressed by the National Action Committee on the Status of Women concerning the nature of the apprehension a woman must have under the current provisions of the bill.

Over time these concerns may prove warranted but we will not know that. We will not have any formal mechanism in place to review those questions and come to those conclusions in the absence of the amendment proposed here today.

I bear in mind that, although it is true this bill had all-party support in committee, it went through clause-by-clause study of this radically new departure in three hours. I know my colleague, the hon. member for New Westminster-Burnaby, proposed six amendments some of which were accepted. There was a raft of government amendments. But in three hours they tore through the bill in committee.

It may be that that is necessary. It may be that such times are required to get the bill through the House before we adjourn next week. If that is required, so be it.

However, even allowing that that haste is required, again I say that prudence dictates a fixed review. I commend the idea to the members of this House. Do not abandon that potentially extremely useful tool.

A review in five years will harm no one. It will cost comparatively little if anything and will give us a safeguard that any prudent House would wish to set in place.

Having said that let me conclude by saying that we wish Godspeed to this bill. We look forward to its coming into force as rapidly as possible because we know there is a stalking problem out there.

I do not believe there is a community in this country that has been left untouched by the terrible tragedy of women being murdered because they had the ill fortune at some point to be associated with an unbalanced, pathological male.

I know in my community this has happened more than once in and around the city of Edmonton. The most recent case that springs to mind included circumstances

where the woman was being stalked and her family went to the police and said: "This is happening. We need help". That help was not forthcoming.

It is hoped under this act that help will come. Nothing we do here can bring back to life those women who have been murdered in our communities. However it is hoped that what we do here today will prevent such murders in future.

We commend to the House this amendment. It is certainly our intention regardless to support the bill.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   REVIEW OF ACT
Permalink
PC

Rob Nicholson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nicholson:

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I think you might find unanimous consent of the House that at the conclusion of report stage the House proceed directly into the third reading stage of this bill.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   REVIEW OF ACT
Permalink
IND

John Patrick (Pat) Nowlan

Independent Conservative

Mr. Nowlan:

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I want to compliment the parliamentary secretary for having had some discussions beforehand. Certainly this did not catch this member by surprise.

This is the way a good many bills can be dealt with especially when there is such a need to fill a very obvious gap in our jurisprudence with all the problems that have been mentioned about whether in the hurry to do this before we break all those issues have been addressed.

However the reason I speak is that I commend the parliamentary secretary for doing it this way. I totally resent again the government House leader imposing Standing Order 78(1) during report stage and then moving to complete report stage and third reading all at once.

I know this is not the time to discuss that but I just want to compliment the parliamentary secretary. This is the way bills can move rather than using that tremendous gag of time allocation which makes a travesty of this place.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   REVIEW OF ACT
Permalink
PC

Charles Deblois (Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. DeBlois):

Is there unanimous consent to debate third reading after the concurrence motion?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   REVIEW OF ACT
Permalink
?

Some hon. members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   REVIEW OF ACT
Permalink

June 10, 1993