New Democratic Party
Ms. Dawn Black (New Westminster—Coquitlam, NDP)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-315, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (leaving province to avoid warrant of arrest or committal).
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to reintroduce this bill that addresses a glaring loophole in our criminal justice system. There is a serious problem in Canada with regional arrest warrants that are issued across the country but are not executed because of the cost of returning the accused to the area of the alleged crime.
This is of particular concern in British Columbia. A 2005 study by the Vancouver Police Department found that over a three month period, it came into contact with 726 people, subject to 1,582 of these kinds of warrants. Eighty-four per cent of these people had four or more criminal convictions, including sexual assault and other serious crimes. This has seriously eroded public confidence in the criminal justice system in the lower mainland of Vancouver.
My bill would make it an indictable offence for a person to leave the province of jurisdiction where he or she knows or has reason to believe that a warrant for his or her arrest has been or will be issued.
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has called for this kind of action, a call that has been supported by provincial justice ministers right across Canada. The chiefs of police in my community of New Westminster and of Port Moody support it but so far it has been totally ignored by the federal government.
I urge the government and my colleagues in this House to help me get this important legislation through the House of Commons and right what is a very serious wrong.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
Subtopic: Criminal Code