June 18, 2015 (41st Parliament, 2nd Session)


Françoise Boivin (Interjection)

New Democratic Party

Ms. Françoise Boivin

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. It gives me an opportunity to make some remarks I did not have a chance to make earlier.
While I was studying the bill in order to make my recommendations to the official opposition caucus, I had a letter from the Canadian Prison Law Association. These people wrote to me in March 2015. They thought the bill was on the fast track. That was the impression the government was giving. In the end, though, the Conservatives were asleep at the switch until nearly the last day of the parliamentary session.
The association recommended that I go talk to people who had worked in the prison system, the justice system, including the American justice system, and people from the other countries the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice is so fond of mentioning.
A distinction must be made, because their system is not exactly the same as ours. They do not necessarily have our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I know that some Conservatives would rather the charter not exist, but it does. As long as the Conservatives do not use the notwithstanding clause, they can try every trick in the book to undermine the charter, but the Supreme Court will always have to remind them that we have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, because that is the role of the court. The Conservatives must therefore ensure that the bills they introduce are in line with the charter and the Constitution.
We need to be careful with comparisons before making such unequivocal statements, as the parliamentary secretary does, in light of the fact that others do not have the same laws as us.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Life Means Life Act
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