Marlene JENNINGS

JENNINGS, The Hon. Marlene, P.C., LL.B.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Notre-Dame-de-Grâce--Lachine (Quebec)
Birth Date
November 10, 1951
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marlene_Jennings
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=0abdcb88-9105-41d9-8a1b-87e54e5efecb&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
lawyer, senior public servant

Parliamentary Career

June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
LIB
  Notre-Dame-de-Grâce--Lachine (Quebec)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
LIB
  Notre-Dame-de-Grâce--Lachine (Quebec)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Cooperation (September 13, 2001 - January 12, 2003)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Solicitor General of Canada (January 13, 2003 - December 11, 2003)
June 28, 2004 - November 29, 2005
LIB
  Notre-Dame-de-Grâce--Lachine (Quebec)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister with special emphasis on Canada-U.S. (July 20, 2004 - October 6, 2005)
January 23, 2006 - September 7, 2008
LIB
  Notre-Dame-de-Grâce--Lachine (Quebec)
  • Liberal Party Deputy House Leader (February 23, 2006 - January 17, 2007)
  • Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition (February 23, 2006 - January 17, 2007)
  • Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition (January 23, 2008 - September 6, 2010)
  • Liberal Party Deputy House Leader (January 23, 2008 - September 6, 2010)
October 14, 2008 - March 26, 2011
LIB
  Notre-Dame-de-Grâce--Lachine (Quebec)
  • Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition (January 23, 2008 - September 6, 2010)
  • Liberal Party Deputy House Leader (January 23, 2008 - September 6, 2010)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 3 of 289)


March 4, 2011

Hon. Marlene Jennings

Mr. Speaker, I understand that it is against the rules of the House to use the names of other sitting members, but when a sitting member instructs the employees of the Government of Canada in their public communications to no longer use the term “Government of Canada” but instead to use his family name in conjunction with the word “government”, then it is a little difficult for members of Parliament to properly--

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
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March 4, 2011

Hon. Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative funding plan for new Canadians reeks of contempt. They are categorizing entire ridings as being very ethnic. What does “very ethnic” mean? They are categorizing Canadians and are targeting Asian, Jewish and Ukrainian people.

Do the Conservatives think that some Canadians are more Canadian than others? Are they unable to understand that all Canadians are real Canadians?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Citizenship and Immigration
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March 4, 2011

Hon. Marlene Jennings

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member may not have any legal training, but she clearly has a legal mind. I would suggest that she take a law program if she is looking to do some courses. The faculty of political science and law at the Université du Québec à Montréal would be an excellent place for that. The program is available at other Université du Québec campuses as well. I graduated from that program, and I found both the law course and the political science course to be excellent.

Since some of the charges against the two Conservative senators and two high-ranking officials in the Conservative Party—or maybe I should talk about the Prime Minister's party, since he wants to attach his name to everything—concern the falsification or production of fake invoices, maybe the management at Retail Media Group should have the offenders arrested for falsifying the company's property. Invoices carrying the company's legal name belong to Retail Media Group. But it seems that some of the charges against these four high-ranking Conservatives, including two sitting senators, have to do with producing fake invoices.

That is an excellent question.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Full View Permalink

March 4, 2011

Hon. Marlene Jennings

Mr. Speaker, I take note of your admonishment. I will make every effort to respect that admonishment and to adhere to the rules of the House of Commons in terms of use of sitting members' family names or first names when taking part in debates or rising to speak in the House.

I do, however, warn that it may be difficult if I am citing from an official government document and that document adheres to the written instructions of the sitting Prime Minister that the term “Government of Canada” should no longer be used; it should be his last name in front of the word “government”. It might be difficult, but I will make every effort to adhere to the rules of the House.

When I talk about Government of Canada in my debate, I will make every effort not to use the Prime Minister's name, although he has requested all public civil servants that it is no longer the Government of Canada, it is his government.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chen had to incur significant legal costs in order to defend himself under the current provisions of the Criminal Code. Thankfully, he was acquitted, as were the two other individuals who worked for him in October of 2010.

If we heed the words of the Minister of Justice, did the government at that time bring forth amendments to the Criminal Code provisions which deal with citizens' arrests? No, it did not. It had months and months in which to do so. It had two private members' bills, both sitting members, who had tabled their respective private members' bills and had offered the government to take them over, table them in the government's name and they and their caucuses would be supportive.

It is yet another example of how the government under the sitting Prime Minister, who now wants the Government of Canada to be called his government, uses real issues that can have a real impact, sometimes devastating, on citizens' lives as a political football. The Conservatives are now worried about possibly the vote in that particular section of Toronto and perhaps in other areas of Canada, so now all of a sudden the issue has become important to the them and a priority.

The Liberals will not stand in the way of getting Bill C-60 to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights quickly. If any member of the government were to stand in future debate and make that insinuation, they would be wrong and they would be making that false insinuation knowingly, because it has been stated here by the justice critic of the official opposition.

My colleague from British Columbia rose and asked a question of the minister. The minister brushed off his question. I wonder why the minister and his colleagues, whose party forms the Government of Canada--I am getting too close to violating again, I was tempted to use the sitting Prime Minister's preferred term--brushed it off.

At committee we wish to make clear and certain that there are no unintended consequences with this legislation and with the proposed amendments, so we need to ensure that the term “reasonable grounds” is clear and the reasonable time after the commission of a criminal offence or reasonable grounds that there was the commission or the attempt to commit a criminal offence and the time in which the citizen's arrest is effected is also well defined.

The other issue is we want to make sure it appears that if a citizen has reasonable grounds to believe that another individual is either committing an offence against the owner's property or the person who has legal possession of that property and effects a citizen's arrest, in some cases using reasonable force, and it turns out the person was mistaken, the individual who was presumed to be a culprit and committing a criminal offence or to have committed a criminal offence in a reasonable timeframe wherein the citizen's arrest could be effected, the person effecting the arrest is protected.

I believe it is clear that individuals are protected. If they are in fact the owners of the property or duly authorized to be in possession of the property and had reasonable grounds to believe another individual was attempting to commit a criminal offence against that property and within a reasonable time effected a citizen's arrest using reasonable force, then that person is protected.

However, clearly there is nothing in the provisions for the individual who is the subject of the suspicions and ultimately the citizen's arrest if it turns out he or she was not committing an offence. Individuals who may have been subjected to damages to their reputation or their own belongings may have civil remedies available and it will be interesting to hear the minister speak to that when he appears before committee.

I have been pretty good so far. I have avoided using the sitting Prime Minister's surname in front of the word “government”, as he has requested be done by all public servants and in any official communication going out from any government department or agency. I have been good about that, however difficult and tempting it has been.

My colleague asked the question about what, if any, protections there are for citizens who become the object of suspicion by another and placed under citizen's arrest, which turns out to be a false arrest because the individual thought to be a criminal is not and has every right to the property in question. Those are issues that need to be dealt with because we do not want to create another category of victims.

We want citizens in lawful possession of property to be able, in reasonable circumstances with reasonable grounds, to protect it. However, we also do not wish to create a category of new victims where people do not understand because we have not done the work.

It is not just the opposition. The Government of Canada will have to conduct clear educational advertising, and not like it did with its economic plan which was disguised political partisan advertising. This needs to be clear educational advertising so that everybody in Canada understands what these new provisions mean, what they allow and do not allow, and what can be lawfully done in different circumstances. Hopefully these provisions will provide very clear limits.

I will conclude by saying that Liberals have been calling for this bill for months, if not over a year, since the time that Mr. Chen was originally arrested by the police for trying to defend his property. We are pleased that the government has finally brought forth a piece of legislation. We are anxious to see it in committee so that we can ensure that it does not go beyond what it should and that it does not, in any way, shape, or form create the unintended consequence of vigilantism.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Full View Permalink

March 4, 2011

Hon. Marlene Jennings (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the debate on Bill C-60 as official opposition critic.

I managed to hear most of the speech by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and I noticed that he was calling for this bill to be fast-tracked through the House. The Liberals agree with quickly sending this bill to committee to be studied.

The bill seeks to amend the Criminal Code to allow private citizens who own or have lawful possession of property to arrest a person whom they find committing a criminal offence, or in relation to that criminal offence on or in relation to that property within a reasonable amount of time. This power of arrest is permitted only in circumstances where there are reasonable grounds to believe that it is not feasible for the person to call in law enforcement to make the arrest.

All of this stems from a very high-profile case, that of a shopkeeper in the Toronto area, David Chen. There was a thief, a repeat offender, a small-time petty thief, who had been arrested and convicted on at least one previous occasion and who had charges of theft pending against him. He was victimizing shopkeepers in Chinatown. This particular shopkeeper had been the victim of a theft by this petty thief, whom the police patrolling the area were well aware of.

On this occasion, the person came into his shop and Mr. Chen effected a citizen's arrest with the assistance of a family member and an employee. When law enforcement actually showed up, Mr. Chen, his family member and his employee were the ones who were arrested and charged. I believe some of the charges brought against Mr. Chen were unlawful, forcible confinement, the use of force, et cetera. That is because under the current provisions of the Criminal Code, a citizen may make an arrest only when a criminal offence is being committed, or has been committed and the alleged criminal is in the process of fleeing, for instance.

However, if a citizen is aware that he or she has been a victim of theft, perhaps destruction of their property, and knows there are reasonable grounds to suspect a specific person and then sees that person at a later time when it is not feasible to call law enforcement, or when law enforcement would not arrive in time before the person flees from the premises or location, that citizen effects an arrest.

Under the current provision, if time has passed and it is the next day, that citizen cannot legally effect a citizen's arrest and cannot use force to restrain the alleged culprit.

Mr. Chen was charged.

A Liberal member called on the government, in the name of all Liberals, to immediately enact provisions to protect citizens in those circumstances. It is unfortunate that the government did not move at that time. That Liberal member tabled a private member's bill that would, in fact, have made those changes and ensured the protection of citizens.

An NDP member, on behalf of the NDP, also called on the government at that time to move to act. When the government did not do so, that NDP member also tabled a private member's bill.

Mr. Chen had to hire legal counsel and appear in court, as did the two other people charged alongside him. He incurred legal fees. He had to take time away from his business. He is a small business owner who has created some employment, including for members of his family and other residents of Canada. He pays taxes to the municipal government, to the provincial government and to the Government of Canada, or should I use the term that the Prime Minister has now instructed government employees to use, the “Harper Government”--

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act
Full View Permalink