April 29, 2004 (37th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Benoît Sauvageau

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Benoît Sauvageau (Repentigny, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the whip for having corrected this small error on our part.
I was saying that people might be surprised to see the Bloc Quebecois supporting a government bill. When it is a good piece of legislation that needs no changes because it is done properly, we can support it.
The Bloc Quebecois is in favour of the principle of Bill C-29, however we must ensure that the proposed amendments will effectively protect the rights of people suffering from mental illness, while protecting society.
To do this, we must understand why the federal government did not adopt all the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
At this point, I want to make a comment and propose that the government, through its committee on the democratic deficit, consider what happens to unanimous committee reports. We are talking about addressing the democratic deficit and increasing the role and responsibilities of members in the House; all too often, unanimous reports are written and voted on after the committee has heard from numerous witnesses and often after the members have travelled across Canada to consult lobbyists and the public.
This afternoon, we were discussing the budget for the committee dealing with prebudget consultations. After spending $100,000, $200,000 or $500,000, after working on a report for one, two or six months, when all the parties recognize that the recommendations are supported unanimously, why is the government all too often taking this committee report and shelving it? In this case, I think that the recommendations are almost totally supported.
However, I am talking in general terms, but, in the committee study on the democratic deficit, I think that we should focus on the use that we are making or not making of unanimous reports of the House. I believe this is like when there is a vote on a motion where two-thirds of members in the House are in favour—such as the motion on the Armenian genocide—and the government says: “We will not change our position on this situation or issue”. The democratic deficit is there and can be corrected. I will now return to Bill C-29 to give a little background.
On March 29, the Minister of Justice introduced BillC-29, an act to amend the Criminal Code (mental disorder) and to make consequential amendments to other acts in the House of Commons. The purpose of this bill is to modernize the Criminal Code provisions respecting persons not criminally responsible or found unfit to stand trial on account of mental disorder. This bill is in response to the recommendations made by the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, which examined the Criminal Code provisions relating to mental disorder in a report tabled in the House of Commons on June 10, 2002.
At the time, the Bloc did not produce a dissenting report. In conclusion, I want to recognize the enormous work done by the member for Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier on the issues examined by the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and, among others, on Bill C-29.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Criminal Code
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