Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights Monday, February 16, 2015 Chair

Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights Monday, February 16, 2015 Chair
Standing Committee on Justice and Human
Rights
JUST
●
NUMBER 061
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2nd SESSION
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EVIDENCE
Monday, February 16, 2015
Chair
Mr. Mike Wallace
41st PARLIAMENT
1
Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights
Monday, February 16, 2015
● (1530)
[English]
The Chair (Mr. Mike Wallace (Burlington, CPC)): This will be
out of the ordinary, ladies and gentlemen. Because we have a vote
and the bells will ring at a quarter to four, I thought we'd start a few
minutes early, since we have enough people here for that.
This is the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. It is
meeting number 61. We are dealing with the order of reference of
Monday, November 24, on Bill C-26.
We have a number of witnesses with us. You've all been given a
five-minute heads-up. That's what you're going to get. We're going to
try to hear all of you, and then, unfortunately, the bells will ring and
we'll have to go and vote, and that'll it be it for you for today. But
committee members will be coming back here for about 4:30 to get
started with the second panel, and we'll have a full round with the
second panel.
Yes?
[Translation]
Ms. Françoise Boivin (Gatineau, NDP): Mr. Chair, this
afternoon we will be hearing four extremely important witnesses.
And yet the time they were given to present their report has already
been reduced to five minutes. After we go and vote, we should at
least take the time needed to question them. Otherwise, we could
simply have asked them to submit their briefs, which they have
already had the kindness to provide, and read them. In that way, they
would not have had to go to the trouble of coming here.
The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights has
studied a large number of bills, but as I was saying earlier, and as I
said to my colleague the parliamentary secretary, I have the
impression that for the first time we don't have a reasonable and
sufficient period of time at our disposal to do the work that is
expected of us.
These people are available to answer our questions. My colleague
—I believe it was Mr. Wilks—said two weeks ago that this was
important. We were willing to reduce the length of their
presentations so as to have some time for questions and answers
with them. However, we do not even have that time. If they stayed,
we could make some progress in our work. We could hear witnesses
again on Wednesday.
Our priority with regard to this file is to do serious work.
[English]
The Chair: Here's my suggested solution to that. We'll hear the
presentations. I think that's only fair; you've done the presentations.
You know we have a second hour. If you would like to stick around,
as witnesses, you can be part of the question and answer section of
the second hour.
How does that sound? It's not a great solution, but it at least gives
you an opportunity.
Mr. Bob Dechert (Mississauga—Erindale, CPC): The only
other suggestion would be, Mr. Chair, to allow one round of
questions for this panel, and then just reduce the number of rounds of
questions for the second.
The Chair: The more chatting we do, the less chance they get to
give their presentations.
Mr. Bob Dechert: Either option is fine with me.
The Chair: The bells are going in 15 minutes, and they have four
folks.
Instead of introducing each of you, I'm going to call on the
Criminal Lawyers' Association to give the first presentation and you
can introduce yourselves. Thank you.
Mr. Michael Spratt (Member, Former Director and Member
of the Legislative Committee, Criminal Lawyers' Association):
My name is Michael Spratt, and I'm here representing the Criminal
Lawyers' Association.
In the interest of brevity, I won't go through the opening spiel. I've
been here before, and you can check past transcripts to find out who
we are and what we do. To cut to the chase, I'd like to talk about one
thing predominantly, and that's the use of mandatory minimum
sentences. I also have some comments on the registry and on further
limits of judicial discretion through the use of mandatory
consecutive sentences, but I'll begin with the minimum sentence
point.
You've heard a bit about minimum sentences. Mr. MacKay was
here. He testified before you. He said, “...mandatory minimums, the
short answer is that we can't do enough to protect vulnerable
children.“
This is the message that's being sent, that minimum sentences and
harsher sentences make us safer. You know that's not true. You've
been told that before. You've been told that by me, and you've been
told that by other experts. The evidence suggests quite the opposite
—minimum sentences don't make communities safer. They don't
deter the commission of offences. They impede rehabilitation. They
are costly, and they can be unconstitutional.
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February 16, 2015
I refer you to the case of R. v. S.S., 2014, O.J., No. 1887 on
Quicklaw, 2014 ONCJ 184, the neutral cite. That case deals with
some of the very offences contemplated in this bill. It deals with the
minimum sentence of 90 days, which is being increased to six
months under this bill. In that case, there was a perilously close
finding of unconstitutionality. It seems the only reason it wasn't
found to be unconstitutional was that a reasonable hypothetical
wasn't put by the parties and was created by the court, and the court
didn't see fit to rule on something that wasn't argued before it.
● (1535)
Over the last eight years you've heard evidence about minimum
sentences. Your own legislative summary from the Library of
Parliament speaks of mandatory minimum sentences. You've heard
from Dr. William Marshall, Mr. Randall Fletcher, Dr. Stacey
Hannem, Craig Jones and Julian Roberts. All these experts have
come and talked about how minimum sentences don't deter, how
minimum sentences can actually increase danger.
The Chair: Thank you. If you can hang around that would be
great. There may be questions in the second hour.
Anthony Doob, a pre-eminent expert from the University of
Toronto testified that “mandatory minimum penalties of this kind do
not deter crime”. On February 4, just last week, Steve Sullivan
testified, not only speaking to the ineffectiveness of minimum
sentences but also how they can make the situation worse.
I don't need to go on about the evidence. It's been before you. It
appears the government isn't listening to that evidence. Minimum
sentences don't deter crime, and they don't make us safer.
There are many better uses of money than for minimum sentences
and mandatory incarceration. You heard from James Foord last week
about CoSA. Programs like this, programs that can rehabilitate,
reintegrate, and prevent crime from happening in the first place are a
better use of money than limiting judicial discretion.
There are downsides to minimum sentences. They will increase
the use of court time. They are a perverse incentive for those who are
innocent to plead guilty. Ironically, they are a perverse incentive to
those who are factually and obviously guilty to go to trial, wasting
court time and subjecting victims to testifying in the court process.
But that doesn't seem to have resonated over the last eight years. I
don't expect it will this time.
What I think the committee should be aware of is this. In addition
to the cruel and unusual argument under section 12 of the charter,
this committee should be worried about section 7 of the charter, and
that is arbitrariness. When we are told that minimum sentences and
the raising of sentencing tariffs keep us safer, deter crime, and
prevent crime, I'm going to suggest to this committee that there is a
danger that section 7 will be engaged; that is, that legislation is being
proposed, and there is no connection between the legislation and the
purported aims of that legislation. In that respect, it's arbitrary. That's
what I have to say about minimum sentences. That's what I've said
before. That's what others will say again.
If the government wishes to proceed with minimum sentences and
wishes to sell minimum sentences as mechanisms to deter crime and
keep us safe, there's a thing in criminal law called “onus”. The party
moving for a proposition should prove that it's true, should justify it
with evidence, not rhetoric.
I would urge this committee to look for evidence and try to find
evidence of the effectiveness of minimum sentences. I'd suggest that
evidence has not been found in the last eight years, is not going to be
found in my brief time here, and if you look hard, I don't think you're
going to find it all.
I'll leave it at that. I have more to say.
From the Canadian Bar Association, the floor is yours.
Ms. Gaylene Schellenberg (Staff Lawyer, Law Reform,
Canadian Bar Association): Hi. I'm Gaylene Schellenberg, a
lawyer with the law reform directorate of the Canadian Bar
Association. The CBA is a national association of over 36,000
members with the mandate of seeking improvement in the law and
the administration of justice.
Our submission on Bill C-26 was prepared by our national
criminal justice section, which represents a balance of crown and
defence lawyers from across the country.
With me today is Mr. Paul Calarco, a member of the section, and a
defence lawyer from Toronto.
Mr. Paul Calarco (Member, National Criminal Justice Section,
Canadian Bar Association): Thank you.
In addition to being a practising defence lawyer in Toronto, I also
have served as a part-time assistant crown attorney and a standing
agent for the Attorney General of Canada, so the perspective I bring
encompasses both defence and prosecution experience.
The CBA supports measures that enhance the safety of Canadians,
particularly the most vulnerable members of our society. It is vital to
use the correct measures, and this is especially important when we
consider how best to protect children. We must avoid measures that
exacerbate the problems of abuse. This is complex, and simple onesolution-for-everything approaches are often not appropriate.
I would like to address two main points in my remarks: first, the
sexual offender registry; second, the use of mandatory minimum and
consecutive sentences in certain situations.
There is little evidence to suggest that sexual offender registries,
as they are presently constituted, prevent sexual assaults. This can be
seen in both the reports of the Auditor General of Ontario and the
John Howard Society, cited in our written submission.
This bill does not make the prevention of sexual exploitation any
more likely. It's reporting requirements are unlikely to have any
discernible effect on public safety, or will be unenforceable when
they deal with matters outside our country. Requiring an offender to
report that he or she has a driver's licence as provided will not protect
anyone.
February 16, 2015
JUST-61
It is well known, and confirmed by the government's own
statistics, that in 88% of sexual offences against children and youth,
the perpetrator is known to the victim. An offender registry does
nothing to prevent abuse by a relative. Similarly our submission
quotes a senior member of the Ontario Provincial Police in an
affidavit used before the Supreme Court of Canada noting that many
sexual offences are crimes of opportunity. A registry will not prevent
these incidents.
One of the most important ways to ensure a safe and just society is
by rehabilitating offenders. Once rehabilitated, that person no longer
presents a threat to the well-being of our society, and in this way the
national or social interest and the interest of the rehabilitated
offender are congruent. To address rehabilitation, prevent recidivism,
and promote offender reintegration into society, offenders need
treatment and counselling. This requires resources, but it is the most
effective way to ensure the safety of the community. A simplistic
approach of increased sentences will not do this.
The bill proposes a publicly searchable database be created,
claiming it too will enhance public safety. A public database is more
than likely to have the opposite effect, thus increasing danger to the
vulnerable.
It is no answer to say that such a database will only deal with
high-risk recidivists. We do not know how or if the government of
the day intends to determine by regulation the meaning of this term,
and prior testimony before this committee indicated that a
determination of who was a high-risk offender may be left to
individual police forces. This creates inconsistency and uncertainty.
Further, public access to such data is likely to drive offenders
underground, away from police scrutiny, away from treatment, and
away from supervision. As sex crimes are often crimes of
opportunity, untreated offenders are more likely to repeat an offence
creating more victims. This is entirely preventable. In addition,
innocent parties have been mistaken for offenders when vigilantes
wrongly suppose it is proper to take the law into their own hands.
Nor can it be acceptable that self-styled avengers decide to become
executioners. In our submission we cite several examples from the
United States. There is no reason to believe this would not happen in
Canada.
The second issue I want to address is the use of mandatory
minimum sentences. Criminal sentences must be proportionate to
both the offence and offender. This is a constitutional requirement.
The courts of this country take offences against children very
seriously, and it is a myth to say those who abuse children receive
minimal sentences. It is also well established that mandatory
minimum sentences are of little, if any, value in deterring crime.
Considering time, as my colleague from the Criminal Lawyers’
Association mentioned, sentences must be proportionate. If they are
not, there will be constitutional litigation in order to deal with these
things, which is costly, and the bill is constitutionally vulnerable on
these grounds.
● (1540)
I want to first of all thank the Office of the Federal Ombudsman
for Victims of Crime. Sue has offered to be a presenter in the next
panel. We only had three and now we have four.
We'll now go to the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre.
Mr. Kennedy, the floor is yours.
Mr. Sheldon Kennedy (Lead Director, Sheldon Kennedy Child
Advocacy Centre): Hi, and thanks for having me here today.
I'm Sheldon Kennedy with the Child Advocacy Centre. At the
centre in Alberta we do all the sexual assault investigations in the
city of Calgary and surrounding area. We've pulled together RCMP,
the Calgary Police child abuse sex crimes unit, Alberta Health with
four pediatricians and 15 psychiatrists, 35 child and family service
workers, and we all work as one under one roof to investigate these
crimes and to treat our young people to turn their lives around early.
One of the things I've learned is that the reality is if I look at my
offender and many more of the victims that I've talked to as
offenders, these individuals operate in our society because of
society's ignorance and indifference, period. That's how they get
away and that's how they operate within our country and within our
communities. I think our best defence is to create awareness and
confidence within the community of who these individuals are
because one of the myths out there in society is that the people who
hurt kids jump out from behind buildings and have masks on and so
forth. In reality that's not the case. In our data that we've created at
the CAC here in Calgary, we've been able to open the files of all the
existing partners: health, child and family, police and crown, and so
we've been able to paint the picture of the invisible damage of this
crime.
I think that is one thing that our courts and systems don't really
grasp. We talk about mental health, depression and so forth, but the
reality is: what's the root cause? It's all about trauma-informed care.
Can you believe in this country that our family physicians, our
nurses, the majority of police officers, unless they specialize in this
crime, don't have the training to deal with child abuse? At the Child
Advocacy Centre, in 20 months, we've done 2,500 investigations in
Calgary alone; 60% to 80% of those are sexual assaults; 93% of
these children know their abuser; 47% of abusers are parents or
caregivers; and 32% have experienced abuse in the past. The
majority of the children are four to seven years old, so to think that
this is only happening to older children is ridiculous.
I'd like to focus on some of the impacts. What are we really
dealing with when children are abused? What's happening? What's
the damage?
I would be pleased to answer questions when we reconvene.
The Chair: Thank you, sir.
3
[Technical difficulty—Editor]
4
JUST-61
● (1545)
The Chair: Technology's great when it works.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, the bells are ringing, and that means
we have to go and vote. There's only one vote, though, so we'll be
back around 4:30. If you could hang around, that would be great.
We'll have a few more people make presentations, and then there will
be a big discussion period. I've heard rumours that there might be a
discussion about extending the meeting. We'll see what happens at
that point.
With that, we'll suspend until we're back.
●
(Pause)
●
● (1635)
The Chair: I'm going to call this meeting back to order. We are
dealing with Bill C-26 here at the Standing Committee on Justice
and Human Rights. I want to thank those who hung around for 45
minutes or so for the voting, and we are off to our second panel.
I want to thank Ms. O'Sullivan for her kindness. She's the federal
ombudsman for victims of crime and she offered to step down her
time to start off this panel. So we'll do the panel—five minutes each
for those who haven't spoken yet—and then we are going to a
question and answer period. There has been an agreement amongst
our colleagues here that if you're willing to stay till six o'clock,
they're willing to stay till six o'clock to ask questions. We completely
understand if you have flights or other things to go to, but if you're
here, you may get asked the questions.
With that, we'll call on Ms. O'Sullivan from the Office of the
Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime to start us off.
● (1640)
Ms. Sue O'Sullivan (Federal Ombudsman for Victims of
Crime, Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime):
Thank you very much. I think out of deference to everyone else, I'll
skip some of the intro. You've heard from our office about what we
do. I'll go right into the comments on the bill.
Bill C-26 seeks to make a number of changes to the Criminal
Code and other legislation to address some issues related to sexual
offences against children. We know that these changes include an
increase from minimum to maximum, making it mandatory to
impose consecutive sentences, increasing the reporting obligations,
and creating a new national public database.
Over the years, we have had several victims contact our office
expressing frustration and concern with issues regarding offenders
who have committed sexual offences against children. As with all
victims of crime, they have a need to be informed, considered,
protected, and supported. We have heard from victims who are
frustrated by the lack of meaningful information they are able to
access about offenders being released into the community. We have
also heard from victims who did not feel considered and protected at
different stages of the criminal justice system, including at
sentencing and in setting release conditions. As well, we have heard
from victims about the need for supports throughout the entire
criminal justice process, starting at the time of the crime, through the
courts, and through to post-conviction and conditional release; and
February 16, 2015
as you have heard from other witnesses before the committee, these
needs can also be lifelong.
Bill C-26 seeks to make information available to victims through a
publicly available database of information on high-risk child sex
offenders. Our office has found that most communities across the
country have processes in place related to public interest notifications for high-risk offenders. In some provinces, these notifications
are posted on public websites. The proposed public database should
provide victims and communities with more consistent access to
information about high-risk child sex offenders.
Legislative changes to sentencing and to the sharing of
information should also be supported by resources to assist victims
in reporting and recovering from the crimes committed against them.
As for sharing information between law enforcement officials, I
support changes to the sex offender registry act that would allow
police and the Canada Border Services Agency to share more
information in combatting child victimization abroad.
Under Bill C-26, the minimum and maximum sentences for sexual
offences against children would increase, and the sentences for
multiple victims would need to be served consecutively. We have
heard from victims who support consecutive sentencing because it
acknowledges and recognizes the harm done to each victim.
Although sentencing may be an important issue for some victims,
alone that would not address the concerns and needs of victims.
When having conversations about such sensitive issues, it is
important to keep in mind that every victim's experience and needs
are unique. Cases of child sexual assault are complex and often
involve someone known to the victim.
I would like to emphasize the importance of having community
resources and supports in place, not only for when a victim comes
forward about abuse but also to deal with the lifelong and sometimes
intergenerational trauma that can come from this type of victimization.
In closing, I would like to thank the committee for its
consideration of this bill and the work in examining this important
issue. I believe that Bill C-26 would provide a measure to better
inform and consider the needs of victims of crime.
I thank you for your time and look forward to any questions you
may have.
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Our next presenter is the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
Commissioner, the floor is yours.
February 16, 2015
JUST-61
[Translation]
Mr. Daniel Therrien (Privacy Commissioner of Canada,
Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada): Good afternoon,
Mr. Chair, ladies and gentlemen members of Parliament.
With me today is Carman Baggaley, Senior Policy Analyst at the
Office of the Privacy Commissioner.
My comments today will focus on the amendments proposed to
the Sex Offender Information Registration Act, or SOIRA, and the
creation of the High Risk Child Sex Offender Database.
While Canadian courts have recognized that privacy is a quasiconstitutional right, it is not an absolute right. In certain cases, it can
be restricted to achieve other important societal goals, including
enhancing public safety and protecting the most vulnerable members
of our society.
However, with any proposed incursions into privacy, we need to
evaluate beforehand whether these incursions are necessary and
likely to be effective; whether they are proportional to the benefit
that may be derived; and whether there are other less privacyintrusive measures that would achieve the same objective.
SOIRA received royal assent in 2004. The act imposes significant
obligations on convicted sex offenders. These are obligations that are
not imposed on other offenders who have completed their sentences.
In previous appearances before parliamentary committees on this act,
the Office of the Privacy Commissioner has raised questions about
the effectiveness of this registration scheme.
In 2009, we recommended a formal evaluation of the effectiveness
of the legislation and the registry by an independent third party. To
our knowledge, no publicly funded evaluation has been done. On the
contrary, evaluations that have been done based on the experience in
the United States suggest that there is little or no evidence that
registration and notification laws are effective, either in terms of
deterring sex offender recidivism or in reducing reported sex
offences.
● (1645)
[English]
The high-risk child sex offender database act would establish a
publicly accessible database that contains information about persons
who have been convicted of sexual offences against children, and
who pose a high risk of committing crimes of a sexual nature.
Although this information would be limited to information that a
police service or other public authority has made public—through
existing provincial registries, for example—making it available on a
national database would greatly expand the number of people who
have access to this information. This, in our view, is a clear intrusion
on privacy, which if justified, should be based on a proportionate and
effective public safety objective.
Based on the research we have read, we at the OPC are concerned
that the publicly accessible high-risk offender database proposal may
not be a proportionate nor an effective response to the very real
problem it is trying to address. This is in part because law
enforcement agencies already have access to information about
registered sex offenders through the national sex offender registry
and other databases such as CPIC. How would the publicly available
5
database increase the likelihood of arrest or reduce the risk of
recidivism? We've not seen any evidence of such outcomes.
There is, however, research that supports the view that laws that
reduce the privacy of sex offenders make rehabilitation and
reintegration more difficult. Ultimately, this could increase the rate
of recidivism.
A publicly accessible database also creates a risk of vigilantism, as
recognized on provincial dangerous offender websites such as the
one in place in Alberta, and increases the risk that fears of being
attacked or harassed will drive offenders underground. There is
evidence that similar databases in the United States have actually led
to the killing of sex offenders in the community.
To be clear, we empathize with victims of sexual offenders and we
understand the importance of the problem that this bill is attempting
to address. However, we urge the committee to look carefully at the
likely effectiveness of this proposal.
Thank you, and I will be pleased to answer questions.
The Chair: Very good. Thank you for that presentation.
Our next group of presenters are from Victimes d'aggressions
sexuelles au masculin.
The floor is yours, Monsieur Fortier.
[Translation]
Mr. Alain Fortier (President, Victimes d'agressions sexuelles
au masculin): Good afternoon.
Thank you for allowing us to testify before you today. My name is
Alain Fortier. I am the president of VASAM and I am accompanied
by Mr. Frank Tremblay, the vice-president. So as to respect the time I
have been given, I will begin my presentation. Afterwards,
Mr. Tremblay will continue.
VASAM is the only organization in Quebec that offers support to
men who have been sexually assaulted. After less than a year of
existence, we have already accomplished a great deal for male
victims. We already have several hundred individual and corporate
members.
It should be noted that even though we only work with male
victims of sexual assault, we also cooperate with organizations that
help female sexual assault victims.
The mission of the organization is to raise the awareness of the
population and of political bodies regarding the sexual assaults that
are committed against men during their childhood, and to encourage
men of all ages to break out of their isolation and to regain control of
their lives.
Regarding the rights of victims, our association reacts to any
legislative change by working tirelessly to demand a reaffirmation
and strengthening of the rights of victims.
We are very happy to have the opportunity today to share with you
the reasons behind our unqualified support for Bill C-26. Among the
provisions in the bill and the measures proposed, two of them were
of particular interest to us.
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JUST-61
February 16, 2015
The first are the longer minimum and maximum prison sentences
for certain sexual offences committed against children.
experienced by the victims during their childhood and the immense
efforts these people have to make to free themselves.
The second
offender who
children, and
consecutively,
Bill C-26 finally recognizes the harm inflicted on abused children
by showing greater consideration when the motion is dealt with,
when their abuser is being sentenced, and by ensuring better
protection through the creation of a public database on child sex
offenders.
is the obligation imposed on the convicted child sex
has been found guilty of offences against several
has received separate sentences, to serve them
that is to say one after the other.
Mr. Tremblay, I now yield the floor to you.
Mr. Frank Tremblay (Vice-President, Victimes d'agressions
sexuelles au masculin): Thank you.
Good afternoon everyone.
Our unqualified support for Bill C-26 is not only ideological, it is
also based on a series of painful personal experiences. Our objective
is not to punish the abusers more severely, but to offer better
protection to the victims, to see appropriate sentences imposed on
child sexual predators, and to see provisions that will mean that they
will really serve their sentences. Children who have been assaulted
have to be given greater consideration and respect. The protection of
children is both the spirit and the letter of Bill C-26. It is not simply a
matter of months or years.
I would like to give you a personal account. Twenty- three years
ago, the person who assaulted my colleague Alain Fortier was given
a 90-day prison sentence. The person who assaulted me, who had
abused 13 victims, was given a 3-year prison sentence. The case was
appealed by the Crown, and the Appeal Court reversed the judgment
unanimously and imposed a 5-year prison sentence.
At first glance, one may believe that it is good to see some
evolution. People have understood that the sentences should vary
according to the cases. My aggressor had assaulted 13 victims and
was give a 5-year prison sentence. As for Mr. Fortier's aggressor, he
received a 90-day sentence.
Things are not quite what they seem, because in the past 20 years,
there was no evolution whatsoever. The devil is in the details. Let's
go for a brief visit to hell, so to speak. As I already said, my abuser
was given a 5-year sentence after assaulting 13 victims. He was
released in March 2014, after having served only 26 months of his
prison sentence. If you divide 26 months by 13, that is equivalent to
two months of prison time per victim.
I launched a class action suit against my abuser and his
organization. During the civil trial, he mentioned that he had
assaulted me at least 80 times. In Canada, that is not how the justice
system works, I know. However, in my head and heart of abused
child, Raymond-Marie Lavoie, my sexual abuser, was given 60 days
of detention for having imposed 80 nights of love on me. That is the
sentence Raymond-Marie Lavoie received.
How have sentences evolved in the past 20 or 30 years? To my
way of thinking, my abuser was given 60 days of prison for having
imposed 80 nights of love on a child of 13. Do we want to keep
things the way they are? Is that what Canadians want?
Bill C-26 would allow for a recognition of wrongs, in order to
protect children. Our support for Bill C-26 and its reforms goes
beyond the simple mathematical proportion between the sentences
and the harm inflicted. It is based on the recognition of a disaster
I will conclude by saying that all of us still have an inner child.
That is the case for all of us. However, when that child was violated
when young, this makes the victim, male or female, a broken person.
VASAM was created to come to the assistance of these people
who were destroyed when they were children. By passing Bill C-26,
you will be telling society that you want to protect the children that
are still within us, even if we have grown up.
Vote in favour of Bill C-26.
Thank you.
● (1650)
The Chair: Thank you.
[English]
Thank you.
Our next presenter is from the Canadian Criminal Justice
Association.
Welcome, and the floor is yours.
Dr. Stacey Hannem (Chair, Policy Review Committee,
Canadian Criminal Justice Association): Thank you.
I'm Dr. Stacey Hannem. I'm the chair of the policy review
committee for the Canadian Criminal Justice Association, and I'm
also an associate professor of criminology from Wilfrid Laurier
University. I do have some research background in released sex
offenders and reintegration.
As criminal justice professionals, the members of the CCJA
certainly are sympathetic to the public's desire to be protected from
people who would commit acts of sexual aggression and exploitation. We've carefully read and considered the proposals within Bill
C-26, and we want to highlight a few aspects of the bill that we have
some concerns with.
The CCJA is on record many times as being opposed to the
creation of mandatory minimum sentences. Of course there is a
range of increases to the mandatory minimum sentences contained
within this bill. I won't belabour the issue, I think my colleague
Michael Spratt quite nicely covered the issues with mandatory
minimum sentences.
However in particular in relation to this issue, we do want to
highlight clause 7, which amends subsections 163.1(2) and (3) of the
Criminal Code to remove the summary conviction option from the
offences of creation of child pornography and the distribution of
child pornography.
February 16, 2015
JUST-61
The issue that we see with this is that given the lack of clarity
around our definitions of child pornography in a digital age, and
given some of the cases coming out of the United States where
children have indeed been charged with creating and distributing
child pornography for taking photographs of themselves and sending
these via text message or via other digital means to boyfriends,
girlfriends, and peers, our concern with this clause is that any young
person in that kind of grey scenario around child pornography would
be subject to the mandatory minimum provisions of the indictable
offence—the one-year mandatory minimum. Given the increasing
prevalence of that kind of behaviour among young people and given
the role of peer pressure, we would want to caution Parliament and
the government against placing those kinds of restrictions on
prosecutorial discretion by removing that summary conviction
option.
The second issue I want to highlight concerns the increased
maximum sentences. Across the board this bill raises the maximum
sentences on summary convictions to two years less a day for a range
of offences against children.
By setting that maximum at two years less a day, the offenders
remain in provincial custody. The issue that we want to highlight
around this is the fact that effective sex offender programming is not
universally available in provincial systems across the country.
Ontario has some quite good programs; Alberta has none. There is
absolutely no treatment specifically for child sexual offending in the
provincial system in Alberta, for example.
When you're considering these types of offences and you're
thinking about this as an offence that is worth two years less a day,
you might want to consider ensuring that the provinces have the
capacity to effectively treat these kinds of offenders and to make
those programs available across the country, both while in custody
and also in our communities.
The third issue I want to talk about is around the issue of the
publicly accessible high-risk child sex offender database. I'm going
to preface these comments by telling you that the longitudinal
research on sex offender registries coming out of the United States—
we have no research on it in Canada—tells us that these registries are
of limited use.
A study published in 2008 looked at the sexual offence rates
during the 10 years prior to and the 11 years following the creation
of the sex offender registry in New York state. It found that it had
absolutely zero impact on arrest rates and charge rates for sexual
offences. Of all people charged with sexual offences during that time
period—10 years before, 11 years after—95.9% were first-time
offenders. They would not have been on the registry anyway. Again,
that suggests that this registry itself is of limited use.
When you make a registry like that public and you put that
information into the public domain, it does have a range of
unintended consequences. The first one I want to point to is lowered
compliance. Ontario has a compliance rate with its sex offender
registry between 95% and 97%. It's very effective in terms of
compliance, whether or not you think it makes a difference in actual
change.
7
● (1655)
The provinces that have public information available—Alberta
and Manitoba—have considerably less effective compliance. They
are at 84% and 88% respectively at the last available data. So
assuming you think sex offender registries are a useful tool for police
investigations, then you should be concerned with the implications
of lowered compliance.
The second issue is the identification of victims. One of the things
is that, if you take a look at the publicly available information from
Manitoba in particular, you will see that in talking about the nature
of the offence, it often identifies the child or the spouse of the
offender as the victim, for example, which makes these people
publicly identifiable. That is a problem.
The public nature also impedes reintegration. There's a range of
issues we encounter around harassment of offenders and their
inability to reintegrate effectively, and I would suggest to you that, if
you actually care about reducing the risk to children, you would
consider groups like Circles of Support and Accountability, which
has a 70% effectiveness rate in reducing recidivism and is currently
being defunded here in Ottawa. It's going to have to close while there
are people coming out of prison wanting to have the support to
reintegrate, wanting to be able to work with people to help create
safer communities.
I would urge you to consider funding these kinds of programs
with proven effectiveness, rather than funding longer sentences of
incarceration.
Thank you.
● (1700)
The Chair: Thank you, Doctor. Thank you for those presentations.
We are now going to an hour of questions and answers. Just before
we do that, there is a budget that's on your table. It's for $8,800.
Would somebody move that for me?
Mr. Bob Dechert: So moved.
The Chair: All those in favour?
(Motion agreed to)
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Our first questioner will be from the New Democratic Party,
Madame Boivin.
We have a lot of panellists. Please try to identify who you are
questioning.
[Translation]
Ms. Françoise Boivin: Thank you for taking part in today's
meeting.
[English]
I will start with Dr. Hannem because I think you pinpointed
something really important.
8
JUST-61
[Translation]
The database you are talking about worries me considerably. It
may mean that the victim will be identified. I don't think that is the
intended objective. There seem to be two problems with this
database: this matter of identification, and the issue of determining
who will identify the person who is at high risk of recidivism.
If I understand correctly, we should perhaps include in clause 5 of
the part of Bill C-26 that deals with the database a sentence
specifying that none of this public information should be used to
identify or contribute to identify the victim.
Would that be an acceptable caveat?
As for determining what should be included in this new database,
should this responsibility not be given to the court rather than the
RCMP? The governor in council could intervene first, in accordance
with what is specified in the bill, which reads as follows:
11. The governor in council may make regulations:
(a) establishing the criteria for determining whether a person who is found guilty
of a sexual offence against a child poses a high risk of committing a crime of a
sexual nature;
Clauses 3 and 4 refer to “information with respect to persons who
are found guilty of sexual offences against children and who pose a
high risk of committing crimes of a sexual nature.”
Would this not be a better way of framing this database?
[English]
Dr. Stacey Hannem: That's a very good question.
Currently when we're making determinations about public
notification, the Correctional Service of Canada will generally
inform the local police services when it is making a high-risk release,
and it is up to the local police service to determine whether or not it
wishes to make a public notification. It is done at its discretion.
So I do think, in terms of determining who is going to be
identified as a high-risk release, you might want to have the parole
board involved at that stage, because it is certainly in a position to
determine what the level of risk is when people are being released.
That would be my first recommendation, if we have to put some
stipulations on that.
The second piece is about identifying victims, and I think this is
the other problem. The bill itself stipulates that only information that
was previously made publicly available by public notification would
be available, but that is at the discretion of the local police service
once again.
Ms. Françoise Boivin: Do you also agree with a lot of the
witnesses, and sometimes the victims themselves, or the associations
of victims, that say that over 85%—I'm being conservative, which is
rare in my case. But between 85%, and some said 95%.... We heard
Sheldon Kennedy talking about how 93% of the cases are family
oriented.
Are we not creating more problems than anything else, or is what's
going to happen just that they will not venture that way? It's just a
law that will serve absolutely nothing.
February 16, 2015
Dr. Stacey Hannem: In my opinion, the law will do very little, if
anything.
Ms. Françoise Boivin: Now to all my friends, lawyers like me,
who don't like
[Translation]
minimum sentences. When I read Bill C-26,
● (1705)
[English]
Most of the clauses are stating minimums that already exist, so
they're not even in contention in C-26. There are a few, maybe two
or three, that are just upgraded from maybe 90 days to six months,
but nothing really.... I know we all share big doubts about the
efficiency of it. We had Mr. Gilhooly, and he's been one of the big
victims of such crimes, who came and said he doesn't think it will do
anything because of all types of concepts.
You spend a lot of time on the minimums and the maximums, but
the maximums are rarely where the tribunals go. There's not that
much change to the minimums, so is that really the biggest problem
you see with Bill C-26?
I'll start with Mr. Spratt.
Mr. Michael Spratt: The minimums are already there. Whether
the minimums work or not, I guess there can be some debate. You
can't really debate the evidence.
The problem with saying we're just increasing what's already there
is that the minimums that are already there are barely passing
constitutional muster. The case that I referred to was a 90-day
minimum. The judge said he would have given 14; he thought that's
what was reasonable.
Is 90 grossly disproportionate? It's really close, and he said,
probably, yes. Let's let the court of appeal figure it out.
You're doubling it, so what was perhaps arguable—and I don't
think it was—when you increase it, it's the nail in the coffin. These
things are going to be found to be grossly disproportionate now.
Ms. Françoise Boivin: Does the CBA have the same opinion?
Mr. Paul Calarco: Yes, I agree with my colleague.
These are very significant increases. I believe it is far more likely
now that there will be constitutional challenges, there will be a
finding of gross disproportionality, and that means the entire
sentencing regime must be struck down. It is not possible to simply
take one offender out of that. Courts have to have the flexibility to
impose a proportionate sentence for the individual before them. As I
said in my presentation, one-size-fits-all does not work.
[Translation]
Ms. Françoise Boivin: Mr. Therrien, what could we do to include
elements that would satisfy your office, and to protect privacy in the
best possible way with regard to this database? Let's be realistic, the
government has a majority and there is going to be a database. What
do you suggest we change in the bill to meet your concerns?
February 16, 2015
JUST-61
Mr. Daniel Therrien: I heard the testimony stating that the
victims only want the criminal justice system to take better account
of what has happened to them. I sympathize entirely with that
viewpoint. I don't think there is much to be done with the public
nature of the system in question.
I'd also like to hear from Ms. O'Sullivan on those issues.
● (1710)
It is conceivable that certain victims of crime would be advised of
the release of the person who assaulted them and that in that way the
victim would consider that he is being better treated by the state and
by the criminal justice system. However, the bill that is being studied
proposes that all of the Canadian population be advised through a
website of the names of various persons and the circumstances that
led to their convictions.
[Translation]
As to the public nature of the document, of the system in question,
there is no middle ground. The only thing I could suggest is that the
victims be advised personally, but insofar as publication is
concerned, it is either public or it is not.
[English]
The Chair: Yes. Thank you.
Our next question is from the Conservative Party's Mr. Dechert.
Mr. Bob Dechert: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to each of our guests for joining us today.
I want to start with the question of sentencing, both the mandatory
prison sentences and the consecutive sentencing provisions in the
bill. Unfortunately Mr. Kennedy is no longer with us. I would have
liked to have heard his comments on those sections, but I do see that
we have Mr. Fortier and Mr. Tremblay with us.
Mr. Tremblay, I believe it was you who said that Bill C-26, in your
opinion, would better protect children and recognize the harm done
to victims. You may know that in our last session we heard from Mr.
David Butt who was here on behalf of the Kids Internet Safety
Alliance and is a former crown prosecutor, and currently I think is a
defence counsel. I'll just go to the bottom of his remarks about
mandatory minimums. He said the mandatory minimums as
proposed don't go too far. They recognize an appropriate level of
moral opprobrium for the offence and they preserve judicial
discretion.
9
Mr. Frank Tremblay: Thank you very much.
I'm going to talk in French; it's better for me.
Minimum sentences are also a message that is sent to victims.
There are several of us around this table. Overcoming what
happened represents an enormous challenge for victims. As a victim
and the representative of a victims' association, I interact with
individuals, hundreds of men, fathers and grandfathers who were
assaulted as children. The people we deal with, who write to us or
speak to us, express a profound disgust for society.
Throughout our lives, that is to say from childhood until the age
we are now, when a sentence is handed down that constitutes an
injustice, we are disgusted. You can see that in a schoolyard just as in
the adult world. When you leave a courtroom, and see that the
consequences on the life of an individual are enormous and that the
whole debate centres on how the private life of the individual who
assaulted the child can be protected... Whenever that individual
decided to assault someone, he did so voluntarily. He targeted his
victim. He knew there would be consequences, but he decided to
commit the assault. What is the point of saying that we won't help
that individual stop committing crimes if he is given a minimum
sentence, and if consecutive sentences are imposed rather than
concurrent ones?
When people act that way, they are only looking at one side of
things. From where you sit, you don't see things the way I do. The
message would be different if everyone could sit on the other side
and wonder what we are doing for the victims as well the members
of our society who see these things. The message would be that we
have to stop thinking that it is necessary to focus on the person who
assaulted someone else. That is often what we see in courtrooms and
this gives rise to profound disgust.
If you tell me that there will be fewer assaults, I will feel that I
have obtained redress. But as for my personal case and that of many
others, I do not have the feeling that that redress was obtained.
We heard from the Canadian Bar Association, the Criminal
Lawyers' Association, and others that they don't think that the
minimum sentences contribute to deterrence, but they didn't say
anything about public denunciation, the abhorrence that society feels
about a crime of this nature committed against a child.
When I went before the parole board again and exposed the lies
that individual told six months before, in a civil case, while he was in
prison, people were very kind to me, but what happened? The
individual was released that very evening, and he was in a halfway
house in Montreal by 8:00 p.m.
You mentioned the harm done to victims, and Mr. Butt mentioned
the moral opprobrium concept, as I said, and I think it's kind of
strange that we don't hear anything about that from the Canadian Bar
Association or the Criminal Lawyer's Association. What's your view
of mandatory prison sentences for people who commit these kinds of
heinous offences against children, who are proven to have done so?
What is the impact on the victims when they see both a minimum
sentence that's meaningful and consecutive sentencing in a situation
where the accused has committed similar offences against several
children or multiple times against the same child?
The fact that people are saying “be careful, let's avoid minimum
sentences” is a big problem for me. This is the message you are
sending society. When you only look at the abuser's side, you say
that there will not be any impact, but if you try to see things from the
other side, you will see that the impact felt by the victims and by
society is important.
Mr. Tremblay, can I hear from you and then Mr. Fortier as well?
Have I answered your question?
● (1715)
[English]
The Chair: Go ahead, Mr. Fortier.
10
JUST-61
[Translation]
Mr. Alain Fortier: Insofar as the minimum sentences are
concerned, I think that is a step forward. It is good to impose a
sentence of two years less a day, especially in cases of sexual
assaults against children. I would even go so far as to say that the
ideal would be a sentence of two years plus a day, because we know
that provincial penitentiaries are warehouses, that is to say places
where people learn to commit crimes, whereas federal prisons offer
programs and do follow-up. That is my first point concerning
sentences.
I don't understand why some people doubt the deterrent effect of
stricter sentences. If I drive 160 kilometres an hour on the highway
and a policeman stops me, slaps me on the wrist and tells me not to
do it again, I may do it again, whereas if it costs me $400, I might be
less inclined to repeat my actions.
I'd like to mention one last thing. I was assaulted by two different
people, repeatedly. I never brought legal action against the second
aggressor in criminal court, but I launched full criminal proceedings
against the first abuser that lasted five years.
I did not lay charges against my second abuser because I did not
want to revisit all of that again, both for my family and friends' sake
as well as for myself. I did all of that to see my abuser be sentenced
to only 90 days in prison? No way! I did not bring charges against
my second abuser, and he is still out there. Has he made new
victims? Yes. If I had known at that point that the sentence would be
adequate, I would have brought charges and I would have gone to
testify.
[English]
Mr. Bob Dechert: As I understand it, you make a good point that
if they're in longer, there's more time for treatment of the offender.
Secondly, if they're in longer, there's less opportunity for them to
commit another crime against another child, while they're in custody.
Go ahead, Ms. O'Sullivan.
Ms. Sue O'Sullivan: You've heard from witnesses here today, as
well as other witnesses before this committee, that victims will come
from their own experiences. For some victims, sentencing is a
hugely important issue and is very much part of the process. For
others, we've heard from victims where the important issue is
restorative justice or other opportunities to work with offenders.
What is clear here is that the impacts of child sexual abuse—and
I've heard Mr. Kennedy speak many times as well—and the
implications are lifelong, and the cost to society is huge. We've
talked a lot about the supports in place and ensuring the offender
doesn't reoffend. You've heard me talk publicly about the
importance, that if we really want to talk about a healthy society,
we also need to make sure that the victims.... The legs of the stool
are not equal. We need to ensure that victims have the supports and
resources they need in place as well, to ensure they can cope.
We know the impact of abuse on people. We can talk about all of
the concurrent issues that can come with it. I think we've heard from
the witnesses here today, particularly about the importance, for many
victims, of sentencing. In particular, we talked about minimums, but
there are also consecutive sentences. I understand the proportionality
and the totality of the system. But when we talk about acknowl-
February 16, 2015
edging, we mean that each victim has been victimized. We need to
ensure that the criminal justice system recognizes that.
The Chair: Thank you very much. That's your time.
Our next questioner is Mr. Casey from the Liberal Party.
Mr. Sean Casey (Charlottetown, Lib.): Thank you, Mr. Chair.
In Mr. Dechert's first question, he criticized a couple of the
lawyers' organizations for not talking about public abhorrence and
denunciation when it comes to sentencing, but he didn't give you a
chance to respond.
Mr. Spratt and Mr. Calarco, this is your chance. Where do public
abhorrence and denunciation fit in sentencing? Where do they fit,
compared to the other factors that you've spoken about at some
length?
Mr. Michael Spratt: Briefly, denunciation is but one of the
principles of sentencing. The problem with bills like this and with
mandatory sentences is that they put too much weight on that
principle, and in an unconstitutional way.
There's a fallacy in the logic that was employed in the question.
These people are in longer so they get more treatment. Well, not if
it's six months, not if they're in Alberta; they don't. When we say that
this deters, that's what's being said here today, but that's not the bill
of goods that's being sold by the politicians, is it?
The justice minister was in here, saying minimum sentences
protect. If you want to go out and sell it that we're going to
retributive, we're going to deter, that's fine. Bill it as that. If it falls as
unconstitutional, that's fine. Your words are on record.
But when you go and sell it as a protection, that's not backed up
by evidence. That might sound good when you say it, but evidence is
what counts in court. That's why these things get struck down all the
time. That's why these ones probably will, too.
Mr. Paul Calarco: Public denunciation is very much part of any
sentencing and especially in a horrendous matter like child sex
abuse. A judge has to say, in sentencing an individual, “You have
committed a terrible crime, but there are many factors that I have to
consider.” How does one, as a judge, say the sentence should be a
very deterrent sentence, but then emphasize public denunciation
more and increase that beyond what it should be? A judge can't say
that. The fine balancing is necessary here for our traditions and to
uphold our rule of law.
February 16, 2015
JUST-61
In overemphasizing public denunciation, a judge would make an
error. No one believes that child sexual abuse should be dealt with
lightly. But what about those cases where for an individual offender,
the public denunciation is achieved through a lesser than minimum
sentence than is proposed in this bill? Why should that offender have
to serve a much longer period of time because of an overemphasis on
public denunciation? It doesn't make sense from a sentencing point
of view. It's unfortunate that public denunciation is overemphasized
in some ways. We have to look at every aspect here. Just looking at
public denunciation leads to improper sentencing, unfortunately.
● (1720)
Mr. Michael Spratt: If I may, just very briefly, when we look at
the most serious and the most heinous cases, we're not talking about
90 days or six months for those. Routinely there are very lengthy
sentences for those cases. But when we're looking at reasonable
hypotheticals from a constitutional perspective, we're not talking
about the six-month sentence, the minimum here, for a heinous
repeat offender.
We're talking about some of those reasonable hypotheticals that
the courts describe that are much less than that. A 21-year-old who
might be sent a picture from his 16-year-old girlfriend or asked for
that picture might fall under some of these provisions. So one can
imagine some hypothetical situations that are much less serious than
those situations being used to sell this notion, and that's where the
unfairness on constitutionality really arises.
Mr. Sean Casey: Thank you.
Dr. Hannem, I get the sense that you might want in on this
discussion as well. I have a specific question for you, but feel free to
also address the one I just raised with Mr. Calarco and Mr. Spratt.
You have referred us to a specific provision in the act that needs to
be amended, the one that takes away the summary conviction option
in certain circumstances. Are there other amendments that you feel
could strengthen the act or lessen its constitutional vulnerability?
And if you want to weigh in on the previous discussion, feel free.
Dr. Stacey Hannem: In terms of the constitutional vulnerability, I
think as Michael and Paul have said, the increase of the mandatory
minimum is potentially problematic and I think will be subject to
challenge. Keep in mind that any sort of sentencing range has to
cover all possible hypotheticals, as they've said, from the least types
of offences that could fall under that legislation to the most serious.
So keeping open the widest range of judicial discretion is certainly
the most advisable course of action in this case.
In terms of public denunciation, I also think again judicial
discretion is what's really key there, the ability for the judge to look
at all the facts of the case, to look at the seriousness, to look at the
impact on the victim, and to make an appropriate decision that
accurately reflects the situation and response.
In terms of other provisions around constitutionality and around
things that might improve our response to victims, you should also
know that research coming out of the United States finds that the
public nature of those registries sometimes impedes people from
reporting their victimization, because not only do they not want to go
through the public nature of the trial, but they don't want to have the
details of that offence and their identity associated with it,
particularly when it's an intrafamilial offence. As soon as it's
11
intrafamilial, you are identifying the victim by virtue of making that
public, and I think that's something that I would really strongly
caution against.
● (1725)
Mr. Sean Casey: Ms. O'Sullivan, does your office have a position
with respect to the federal government's decision to dramatically
reduce the funding to Circles of Support and Accountability?
Ms. Sue O'Sullivan: No. In terms of that specific agency, no. We
have always been very public about the support for victims and the
need to have resources available to support victims of crime. You've
heard me say before that I think any victim you talk to says, “I don't
want what happened to me to happen to anyone else.” They
understand. They want prevention. They don't want an offender to
reoffend, so we look holistically....
But my voice is here to speak to the need to ensure that victims
have the appropriate supports in place, because that is not the only
agency. There are other agencies that also provide that. You've heard
this from previous witnesses as well. The other thing is that at an
ombudsman's office, other than speaking for the need for resources
for victims, we would be very hesitant to speak to a certain agency
getting funding over another.
Mr. Sean Casey: Even in the face of statistical evidence that
shows this program reduces the rate of recidivism and there is very
little evidence that any of the other measures that are sought to be
included in this legislation do that?
Ms. Sue O'Sullivan: Well, I think there are a lot of different
studies out there on what reduces recidivism and what does not. I
think if you're going to make a question about that, about what is the
best plan.... I think if we're going to look as a country about
protecting victims—and you've heard me talk about that continuum,
about the need—it's not an either-or here. We need to look at
prevention. We need to look at the time of crime. We need to look at
afterwards in terms of that.
Again, I'm here for the victims. As Alain was saying, we've heard
victims here talk about the impact. We know that 83% of the cost of
crime in this country is borne by victims. We know about the
lifelong impact; we have two witnesses here who are telling you
about that and their needs. You've heard from other witnesses. I
know that. This committee hears from many victims who talk about
the need to have this, and I'm going to go back to that. They need
information. On your comment about identifying victims, that would
obviously be a concern as well.
12
JUST-61
But my understanding is the need for the public registry.... These
are decisions that are already being made across the country. I
absolutely agree with you that it would be.... I've heard from
previous witnesses, and we would hope the federal government
continues to have those conversations with the provinces and
territories. There can be some kind of consistency. I too have looked
at the Alberta and the Manitoba websites. If you look at the
conditions even to remove people from their websites, you see that
they're different. We really do need to have a national conversation
about that.
Mr. Sean Casey: Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you for those questions and answers.
Our next questioner is Mr. Calkins from the Conservative Party.
Mr. Blaine Calkins (Wetaskiwin, CPC): Thank you, Chair.
As I listen to some of the testimony today, I'm reminded of
conversations I've had with Sheldon Kennedy, and I'm reminded of
the time that Theoren Fleury came here. I was quite sympathetic to
Theoren and all of the things he's been through. I could sense the
lifelong anger and frustration that Theoren has gone through. That
still is very evident in the conversations that I've had with him, of
course. Sheldon is doing great. I missed his earlier testimony, but
with his advocacy centre now, he's doing great and is a great
spokesman.
I want to thank our victim advocacy groups that are here today,
because I look at it from the perspective—and we've heard from
other victim advocates here—of the totality principle. I'm sure the
lawyers in the room know what that is. I'm not a lawyer, so I'm not
going to pretend that I know it in its essence.
I come at it more from an enforcement perspective. I see—and I
hear from these victims and their advocacy groups about it—the
absolute lifelong damage that most of them suffer. As a matter of
fact, I haven't heard any of them say that it hasn't been a lifelong
journey so far. Greg Gilhooly, who was here, has talked about the
fact that it has been a life-changing and lifelong issue that he's had to
deal with. So I get quite upset when I hear words from those
representing lawyers who say that there are non-serious assaults on
children and I hear some examples of those kinds of things.
I think about the totality principle. I have some questions for some
of the lawyers at the table. It comes down to the fact that for the
totality principle, as set out in paragraph 718.2(c) of the Criminal
Code, the global sentence should not exceed the offender's overall
culpability. I'm wondering what you would say as individuals.
Would you be saying the same thing if a member of your family or
you yourself were the victim? Would you be saying the same thing? I
heard Mr. Gilhooly several times say a couple of words, which I
can't repeat, about the Manitoba justice system's handling of the
totality principle when it came to what would seemingly be a long
sentence, I think, in the mind of a lawyer—four to five years—for
the cumulative crimes that were committed against him. It doesn't
seem like a whole lot to me.
Would either of you—and Stacy, if you want to as well—like to
talk about this totality principle from that perspective?
Mr. Paul Calarco: The first thing I'd say, sir, is that you used the
term “non-serious assaults on children”. No, I certainly don't believe
February 16, 2015
there would be a sexual assault on a child that is not serious. I don't
think you'll find a defence lawyer anywhere who would think that a
sexual assault on a child should not be taken seriously.
● (1730)
Mr. Blaine Calkins: I didn't say that you said it. I think I heard
Mr. Spratt say it. Maybe I'm taking it out of context, but I appreciate
where you're coming from.
Mr. Michael Spratt: Of course you're taking it out of context—
Mr. Paul Calarco: The situation—
Mr. Blaine Calkins: That's fine—
Mr. Paul Calarco: As defence lawyers, we see the harm that is
caused by these acts. Having a constitutional duty to defend and
make sure that our justice system works, and that people are only
found guilty of what they are legally and factually guilty of, is a vital
part of our process.
You asked if I would feel that a sentence would be long enough if
a member of my family were victimized in this way—
Mr. Blaine Calkins: That's an unfair question, but....
Mr. Paul Calarco: But that exact sort of thing is why we need a
completely objective justice system, because one cannot expect a
victim of a terrible crime to see this in the way that the justice system
must operate. The justice system is the state against an accused
individual; it's not the civil system.
We recognize the harm that acts of this nature cause, and it is
essential that people be supported. Victims can be supported through
various organizations. They need funding. They need long-term
help.
But one cannot say that because a person has committed a crime
that a victim has to live with for a long time, the person necessarily
should be in prison for the rest of their life. The justice system has to
deal with a number of issues, and we cannot allow our justice system
to react emotionally. We have to be objective about everything.
That's our history. That is why we have Her Majesty the Queen
against the individual.
Mr. Blaine Calkins: That's fair enough.
Mr. Spratt, would you like to clarify your comment? Perhaps I
misheard. I thought I heard you say something to the effect that on a
non-serious assault....
Mr. Michael Spratt: As you know, there are ranges to all
offences. There are some that are very serious and some that are less
serious. The problem with minimum sentences is that they treat less
serious offences the same as a more serious offence, and in doing so
they discard some very important principles of our justice system.
One of those principles is rehabilitation. When you overincarcerate someone, there can actually be an increased rate of
recidivism after their release, and of course you don't want that. You
don't want someone released from jail who's more likely to offend.
No one wants that. Your solution, though, begs that to happen in
many cases. That's when you need to take a nuanced view. You need
to be dispassionate about things, look at the evidence and see what
actually works—to sort of leave rhetoric aside and see what works.
February 16, 2015
JUST-61
If you really do want to protect the public, if you really do want to
rehabilitate, and if you really do want to deter, there are ways you
can do that. But unfortunately, if you don't follow the evidence, you
don't accomplish that, right?
Mr. Blaine Calkins: Following your line of thinking, then, in the
bill, the movement away from concurrent sentencing to consecutive
sentencing would give those people more than adequate time in
order to be addressed by some of the programs that are offered.
Would that not be—
Mr. Michael Spratt: If you actually go back and look at the
sentencing research, you see that to a large extent courts do impose
consecutive sentences a large majority of the time.
One of the other witnesses was testifying and using a sort of banal
example of multiple offences against mailboxes. If you add up each
offence, you can risk throwing away or giving less weight or no
weight to other aspects of sentencing that also need to be taken into
account. That's the danger you come up with, and then we're left
with this ridiculous sort of U.S. system where someone can get 400
years in jail, which is ridiculous, right?
You need to have a balanced approach that takes into account all
aspects of sentencing, not just retribution or not just denunciation.
Mr. Blaine Calkins: Some folks might call it ridiculous; some
people people might call it certain....
To my friends over there, would you agree with the comments that
were just made here? Is there such a thing as a minor or is there a
range...? Is that how a victim views what has happened to them in a
case where they've been sexually assaulted by an adult?
● (1735)
[Translation]
Mr. Alain Fortier: To react to what the other witnesses said, we
are asking for somewhat the same thing, that is to say that sentences
be proportional to the crime that was committed, which is not the
case currently. When you condemn someone to 90 days in prison, I
don't think that is proportional to the crime. That is the first thing we
are asking for.
The second is the minimum sentence. What is the advantage of
that? In Quebec, people are in favour of rehabilitation. I have
nothing against those who are in favour of rehabilitation, but the
courts tend to impose sentences that are much less severe, and to put
offenders back into circulation more rapidly.
Many people are in favour of rehabilitation, but I don't know too
many people who have taken in a recidivist pedophile. Personally, I
would not be willing to do so. I say yes to rehabilitation. It is very
important, but I think that by imposing minimum sentences we will
send a signal to victims that we take the crime that was committed
against them into account and that we don't simply want to ignore it,
as is the case at the present time.
[English]
The Chair: Thank you very much for those questions and
answers.
Our next questioner, from the New Democratic Party, is Madame
Péclet.
13
[Translation]
Ms. Ève Péclet (La Pointe-de-l'Île, NDP): Thank you very
much, Mr. Chair.
I don't really have much time, but this is a very interesting and
important debate.
From what Ms. O'Sullivan, Mr. Fortier and Mr. Tremblay have
said to us, I take that we need to listen to victims. When they make
the decision to lay charges and to go through the laborious justice
system—the trial, the parole and the sentencing—they need support,
they need to be listened to, and they need the other actors in the legal
system to be there for them. This may be the most important issue
we hear about.
We saw each other previously when we were studying Bill C-32.
And indeed, we consolidated what the victims tell us each time they
come to testify here; they want information, and during the entire
trial and even afterward, they want the actors in the justice system to
be there for them and to listen to them; but we are talking about other
kinds of help, other kinds of organizations.
The registry is going to disclose the name of someone who has
already committed a crime. Will this really meet the demands of the
victims and the people you deal with? I am sorry, it is the only term I
could come up with. Does that meet the needs of victims who want
to be listened to and to know whether there are negotiations? I really
wonder what a registry adds to the equation.
If the victim is not listened to during all of the trial but is told that
the name will be published on an Internet site, will this really be a
response to what you hear in the field?
Thank you very much.
● (1740)
[English]
The Chair: Who do you want to answer that?
[Translation]
Ms. Ève Péclet: My question is addressed to Ms. O'Sullivan,
Mr. Fortier or Mr. Tremblay.
[English]
Ms. Sue O'Sullivan: It's my understanding that we have a
national sex offenders registry, which has 36,000 names on it,
according to one witness. That is the registry that's available to
police and is going to be expanded to CBSA, as I understand, which
we support.
Then there's this idea of a public one. My understanding is that it
would only include the offenders about whom there has been a
decision already that they are high risk. They're coming back into the
community, and they are at high risk to reoffend. So this is not about
talking about the national registry that the police have access to.
What we're talking about is that, right now—this is my understanding—there will be people who are at such high risk that there is
a decision made by a process, having spoken to some people in law
enforcement, involved in behavioural sciences, and in some cases
obviously correctional services, in some cases having even met with
the offender, depending on the community you're in.
14
JUST-61
February 16, 2015
Our next questioner is Mr. Wilks from the Conservative Party.
These are decisions that are not taken lightly. These are decisions
for which absolutely you would want to ensure there's something in
the legislation so that these processes that are in place consider the
identity of the victim.
Mr. David Wilks (Kootenay—Columbia, CPC): Thanks, Chair.
Thanks to the witnesses for being here.
However, I am going to say two things about a victim. In some
cases, by the time the offender is charged, the child victim may in
fact be an adult. So when it comes to—you've heard me say this
before—choice and options, you've heard victims of both child
sexual abuse and sexual abuse who have wanted to come forward
and be public.
Ms. O'Sullivan, part of the bill that hasn't been talked about a lot is
in relation to probation orders, prohibition orders, and peace bonds.
They're all found in the Criminal Code now. They're all in place for
the protection of Canadians from convicted sex offenders and those
who have been brought before the courts.
Again, when I talk about a process that's in place and these
decisions, my understanding based on the previous police witness
here, is that in fact there are these discussions that will be going on
with the provinces and territories, that there would be a consideration
to that piece on the victim's identification, as part of that and a
continued part of a process, any process. I would not always want to
make the assumption, because I am aware from recently speaking to
law enforcement—without getting into detail and confidentiality—of
a case in which a victim had become an adult and in fact was spoken
to by the police service as to his or her opinion.
These are the kinds of things. I'll just use those words, choice and
options and the processes that are in place. Obviously if that child
still is a child, then there are other safeguards that would have to be
in place in terms of adults, caregivers.
The Chair: Mr. Tremblay, do you want to respond?
[Translation]
Mr. Frank Tremblay: Currently, if a crime everyone finds
repugnant is committed, there will be a great deal of publicity. It will
be talked about everywhere and we will see the abuser. What is the
point of saying that we will really cause harm to that abuser if in
addition to that, his name is added to a registry? It will be seen
throughout Canada, and throughout Quebec.
We know some cases; Alain can tell you about them. The media
will publicize the case, but the important thing is that we all return to
our homes in the evening. As the father of 9- and 11-year-old
children, I want to know if there is such a person in my
neighbourhood, even if I don't want to know his address.
Earlier someone talked about the assaults that were committed and
asked if those actions would be described and linked to the victim. I
took part in a trial myself and I lifted the publication ban, because I
wanted to do things properly. If someone does not want to do that—
even an adult who was assaulted—no detail will be published and
that person will never be identified. The person we want to see
identified is the offender, the mentally ill person, the crazy one, the
recidivist. We want to know if he is close to our home. Perhaps you
are not scared of him, but I am, and I don't want my daughter to fall
into his hands. That is what I want to prevent.
I also want us to stop looking at only one side. People are always
concerned about the abuser, and wonder whether his rights are being
breached!
[English]
The Chair: Thank you for those questions and answers. Sorry,
that's our time.
While at committee, the minister had stated that the purpose of
those provisions was to ensure that those convicted of those offences
follow through with the court-imposed sanctions that are put upon
them. As a result of that, unfortunately, there are those who breach.
Not everyone breaches, but some do breach, and that's just part of
how things happen.
Although there have been attempts over the years to try to fix that,
it's a really difficult thing to do because, let's just face it, some people
have a really hard time following rules. That's just the way it is. But
it's also an important message we have to send to the public and to
the offenders that there are rules in place once they're released.
For the benefit of the committee, I wonder if you could talk about
what your views are on this bill from the perspective of breaches of
probation, prohibition orders, and peace bonds or supervision orders.
Ms. Sue O'Sullivan: This speaks to the whole process. I'm going
to speak from a victim's lens.
The court has decided that this person is going to be under these
conditions and has an expectation they're going to comply. If they
breach those, then they have to be accountable. We're all accountable
for our actions.
When an offender is out there these are court ordered, these are
impositions that are put on by the court, so yes, it needs to be taken
very seriously when somebody breaches those. They need to be held
accountable for that. That process needs to be enforced because at
the end of the day we hear about offenders who are trying to perhaps
engage in rehabilitation and the rest of that, but it is all part of how
there have to be those parameters in place that when they do breach
they're held accountable.
Mr. David Wilks: I'll digress a bit here and I'll go back to my
previous life as a police officer.
That's the challenge. Unfortunately, there are those in society who
are released on conditions, who choose not to recognize the
conditions. Irrespective of how hard the courts try, they choose not to
follow their conditions. Then they're brought before the court again
for a breach, and in some cases are provided with a jail sentence, but
in a lot of cases they're not. They're released again, given a second
chance, or sometimes a 10th or a 15th chance. We see it quite often.
February 16, 2015
JUST-61
I don't want to belabour the mandatory minimum because I think
we've heard enough of that, but at the end of the day, when is enough
enough? The question would be, to anyone here, if a person is
released on conditions by a provincial court judge and/or a federal
court judge, and they breach those conditions—let's say specific to a
sexual assault case—what should happen if they come before the
courts, breaching the conditions that they were released upon by the
courts. Should they be released again, or be put in jail?
That's where I see the failure of the system when it comes to
victims. The courts are trying their best to balance, but when is the
balance done and you say enough is enough? You've had your
chance. We've given you every chance we can.
I direct that to Ms. Hannem, if I may, and then I just want to ask
another question.
● (1745)
15
be a recourse. In other cases it may be deemed that the breach is not
a significant risk.
We want people to not be breaching, to put in place the conditions
that support them to remain effectively in the community. We know
what does that. We know that programs like Circles of Support and
Accountability have all kinds of research to back them up. I've
worked with that organization. I've seen it in action. I've had
convicted sex offenders in my home.
You ask, “Who would do this?” People do this to ensure public
safety.
The Chair: Okay, we're going to have to move on. Thank you
very much for those questions and answers.
The Chair: You won't have time.
Mr. David Wilks: I'll quickly ask it now.
Provincially, with a deuce less a day, you can mandatorily tell
someone to take a course within the jail system. Federally they can
be offered, but you don't have to take them. There is no one who has
to mandatorily take any course in a federally imposed system.
Should that change as well?
The Chair: Dr. Hannem, the floor is yours.
Dr. Stacey Hannem: To that question directly, treatment engaged
in under coercion is generally less effective, often completely
ineffective. I would say no, it doesn't really make sense. I think that
to put your resources where they're going to be most effective, you
have people volunteer to take those courses. If they choose not to,
then that comes under consideration at the level of parole in terms of
their risk. I think we have that covered.
You can't force people to take programs that don't exist. In
Alberta, for example, a sex offender can't be forced to take sex
offender treatment. It simply isn't there. You'd have to put them in
the community, in a hospital, because that's where the treatment is in
Alberta.
On the other issue of breaching, this is again a question of judicial
discretion for me, in terms of what the breach is. What are the
conditions? What level of risk does that breach pose to the
community? There could be a range of conditions on a release, some
of which may include not having access to a cellphone. The
individual may need to have a cellphone for work, for other
purposes. If they breach that condition—
Mr. David Wilks: The thing is, we're talking about sex assault.
Dr. Stacey Hannem: Yes, but this is a condition that gets put on
sex offenders being released in the community because they can't
have a phone that has access to the Internet. Finding yourself a
phone that doesn't have Internet capability in this day and age is
difficult.
If the breach is deemed to put people at risk.... If you have an
offender whose offence cycle is linked to drugs or alcohol and that
person breaches by engaging in using drugs and alcohol, then
absolutely the judge needs to take that seriously and there needs to
Our next questioner is from the New Democratic Party.
Madame Boivin, I will give you lots of time too, by the way.
[Translation]
Ms. Françoise Boivin: Thank you, Mr. Chair.
The discussion is very interesting.
What worries me is that bills are always presented as the panacea
for all problems, but once passed, there is not much follow-up.
From the beginning, there is something that has been bothering
me enormously. I remember the first interview I gave to a radio
station in Quebec—which I am not going to name—after the
Conservative government introduced Bill C-26. People felt that all
sensitive-hearted people would oppose this bill, would play at being
lawyers, and so on, although it had been introduced to protect our
children.
I am worried that the bill that has been introduced aims to create a
database to make information accessible to the public on persons
who have been found guilty of sexual assaults against children and
who are at high risk of committing sexual offences. My concern is
not exactly the same as that of certain witnesses who are here. This
has made me shudder from the beginning, because it means that
someone will be back in society whereas we know, because it has
just been determined, that he is at high risk of committing sexual
offences. What is wrong with that picture? There is a problem
somewhere.
The fact of knowing that offenders have been released and that
they are at high risk of reoffending should help us all to sleep better,
including previous and future victims. It seems to me that there is
something wrong with that concept.
16
JUST-61
Is there someone among the witnesses who has thought about the
criteria that will allow authorities to determine if a person is at high
risk of committing a sexual offence? If there is a witness who is
intelligent enough to help us provide guidelines to the government in
that regard, we would appreciate it. According to Bill C-26, the
governor in council will by regulation establish the criteria that will
allow people to decide whether someone who was found guilty of a
sexual offence against a child is at high risk of reoffending.
Ms. O'Sullivan, I would be tempted to throw that ball in your
court, even though I am sure you do not want it. What should those
criteria be? Should they not be established in advance, rather than
leaving the whole topic open and saying that they will be established
through regulations? Moreover, the context is such that there now
seems to be a lot of overlapping legislation.
Not that long ago, we studied Bill S-2, which allows delegation
through regulations. We may never see it again and we will suddenly
realize that there is a regulation that establishes criteria and that we
did not even know it.
Can someone suggest guidelines for these criteria? Is there
someone among the witnesses who is concerned about the fact that a
database will be created, while we know that an offender is being
released who is at high risk of reoffending?
● (1750)
[English]
Ms. Sue O'Sullivan: Well, I have a couple of things. First of all,
on your general comments about how we need to look at the entire....
We're here discussing one bill. Your colleague mentioned the issue
of the victims bill of rights. You've heard me present on those issues.
Ms. Françoise Boivin: Yes.
Ms. Sue O'Sullivan: I want to agree that we need to look.... If we
want healthy and safe communities, it is about balancing and looking
at all the prevention and the rehabilitation that victims would say
they want. You've heard victims say this. They want what offenders
have and they want the right to rehabilitate and have those resources
in place. If we want healthy and safe communities, we need to look
at that holistic look, not just at the time of crime but the entire
continuum.
Second of all, there already are processes in place in this country.
There have been high-risk public notifications going on. In many
cases in some communities, they will include community members,
and they will include, as I've said, the Correctional Service of
Canada, so there already are processes in place that police services
are using.
I think Ms. Hannem stated it. These processes may differ from
community to community, and it's something that hopefully in a
national conversation.... It's exactly what you're saying: let's have
that conversation about what it would be. I too agree. Let's have an
evaluation. We have an opportunity here at this time, if this bill does
go through, in that we also can consider that there is an evaluation
process put in place at the beginning so that we can ask a few years
down the road if this is the most effective or if this is the best place to
put the money. But at the end of the day—
February 16, 2015
Ms. Françoise Boivin: Aren't we luring ourselves or deluding
ourselves in thinking that it would make our communities more
secure to have that—
Ms. Sue O'Sullivan: But we have heard from victims, and we
have seen cases where people have been released back into the
community, and at some point when they are high risk there's an
onus that the information—
Ms. Françoise Boivin: But isn't it included in the charter of
victims rights that they will automatically know that their sexual
predator is getting released?
[Translation]
There is a rule of law which says that Parliament does not speak in
vain. The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights already states that there
will be more communication with victims and that they will be kept
informed. This is not what is being discussed here. With all due
respect to Mr. Fortier and Mr. Tremblay, we are not talking about
their case here. We are talking about informing the public that a
dangerous person presents a risk. This is what the part of the bill that
deals with the new database is discussing.
In that context, my question is whether we are not deceiving
ourselves into thinking that communities will become safer in that
way, while we have no criteria. There has not been any national
discussion with people who are used to dealing with this issue.
The debate has been at an intellectual level, among lawyers and
people who have their own experience, but we are not necessarily
discussing what Bill C-26 aims to accomplish.
● (1755)
[English]
Ms. Sue O'Sullivan: But there are risk assessment processes, and
again, Ms. Hannem has spoken to that in terms of the Correctional
Service of Canada and the Parole Board of Canada. They do a risk
assessment, but as well, there are the community processes in place
that rely on some of that expertise coming to the table. I don't
disagree with you. Is this alone going to make public safety...? No,
because again, it's exactly what you said, combined with the victims
bill of rights....
I wanted to add to one point you made about whether victims will
be told when their offender is.... Federally, if someone is registered
as a victim with the Correctional Service of Canada parole board and
they choose to be notified of that information, then they will be
notified. But it's not a public notification. It's for registered victims.
You've identified it. We're talking about a very small percentage.
Again, according to the data here, there are 36,000 registered sex
offenders in Canada. That database is available to police agencies
and is being used, and I think you even spoke about the efficacy in
terms of the compliance issue—
Ms. Françoise Boivin: I don't think all 36,000 of them would fit
the criteria, necessarily, and I'm still unsure about what they are—
Ms. Sue O'Sullivan: Oh, absolutely not. Like everybody,
probably, I got on the databases that are currently the websites that
are available publicly, and it's not a huge.... I think that in
Saskatchewan there are only two on there.
February 16, 2015
JUST-61
Ms. Françoise Boivin: But you see, in your answers you're at the
same time creating more doubts in my head, because you talk about
the parole boards and you talk about the police, but we don't know
who's going to be in charge of this. As a lawyer—and sadly for some
people I am—
Voices: Oh, oh!
Ms. Françoise Boivin: —the danger for me is in the fact that we
need to have uniformity. You cannot have a system in Quebec that is
different from Ontario's or that is different from Manitoba's or
wherever. It's going to be chaos everywhere—
Ms. Sue O'Sullivan: I'm in agreement. I'm in agreement. You
want to have consistency, yes.
Ms. Françoise Boivin: —and meanwhile it won't secure the
victims more or anything about the matter....
Ms. Sue O'Sullivan: I'm in agreement that consistency would be
something that we would want to have.
Ms. Françoise Boivin: So should the RCMP be in charge of
determining who goes into the...?
Ms. Sue O'Sullivan: I would defer to the experts on who would
be appropriate for that in terms of offender management.
Ms. Françoise Boivin: You wanted to add something, Ms.
Hannem?
Dr. Stacey Hannem: I wanted to jump in with regard to talking
about efficacy and whether this will make communities safer,
because I think the bottom line is that's the important question for
me.
My concern is that in fact a public registry may actually put in
place the conditions that create and increase the likelihood of
victimization against another person, because we know that stress is
highly correlated to offenders' cycles of offending for sex offenders,
especially high-risk ones. If you put them in a situation where
they've been publicly identified, where everyone in the community
knows who they are or has the ability to know who they are, and
where they can't get a job and they can't maintain housing, you
escalate that stress. There's no support. There's no assistance. You
actually create a situation where that person is more likely to offend.
For me, the danger is that what we're saying as a community and
as the government is that we would rather create a situation where
the person reoffends and goes back to prison for a longer time than
spend the money to support them and prevent that victimization from
happening. I'm only here because I want to see effective policy.
Thanks.
The Chair: Thank you very much, Doctor.
Thank you for those questions and answers.
The last questioner is Mr. Dechert for three minutes.
Mr. Bob Dechert: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I have a question for
Mr. Calarco of the Bar Association.
In your opening remarks, Mr. Calarco, I believe you said that a
publicly accessible sex offender registry would not make communities safer. That was your view.
Mr. Paul Calarco: Yes, sir, I said that.
17
Mr. Bob Dechert: Okay. My confusion comes from the actual
Bar Association written submission to the committee that I read. In
the conclusion on page 11, it is stated that in fact “a well-crafted and
administered registry could contribute positively to crime prevention”, so can it? If so, how would you suggest a registry be crafted so
that it could prevent crime?
Mr. Paul Calarco: What I said, sir, is that there was very little
evidence that the registries as they exist now have contributed to any
sort of safer community or prevented crime—
Mr. Bob Dechert: But you think it could, the Bar Association...?
● (1800)
Mr. Paul Calarco: If there is a well-crafted registry, and first of
all, not a registry where everyone found guilty of a sexual assault of
any sort is put in it.
Mr. Bob Dechert: That's not what's proposed in Bill C-26. It's
just those who are high risk to reoffend.
Mr. Paul Calarco: No, it's those proposed in Bill C-26—
Mr. Bob Dechert: Right, and it's not seeking—
Mr. Paul Calarco: But as was pointed out previously, in proposed
section 11, “The Governor in Council may make regulations”, and
we have no idea what they are or what criteria could possibly—
Mr. Bob Dechert: Okay. Specifically, because time is short, the
Canadian Bar Association has made the statement that “a wellcrafted and administered registry could contribute positively to crime
prevention”. What would that look like? How would it be crafted
and how should it be administered in a way that would prevent
crime?
Mr. Paul Calarco: The first thing is that it should not be public.
As you can see from our submission, various officers have all said
that public registries actually create more danger.
Mr. Bob Dechert: Would it be any different from what already
exists, though? There already is a national sex offender registry to
which the police have access. What would be different?
Mr. Paul Calarco: It should only be police registered. It should
be used for—
Mr. Bob Dechert: That exists today, though, does it not?
Mr. Paul Calarco: Yes—
Mr. Bob Dechert: Okay.
Mr. Paul Calarco: —and it should concentrate on those offences
that are most likely to result in recidivism. Where there is a particular
offender who may be suffering from a paraphilia, that is the sort of
thing where police have to have access to knowledge about that
particular offender.
Mr. Bob Dechert: Are those things that don't currently exist in the
registry that is accessible by the police?
Mr. Paul Calarco: It's totally overbroad, sir, and the registry itself
would not have as much information about these characteristics—
Mr. Bob Dechert: Just so I understand, for the registry that
currently exists to which police have access, do you think it should
be restricted from the current situation or do you think it could be
expanded to help prevent crime? Is it already too broad?
18
JUST-61
Mr. Paul Calarco: No, if it's simply expanded—
Mr. Bob Dechert: Is it already too broad?
Mr. Paul Calarco: It's already too broad—
Mr. Bob Dechert: You think that as it currently exists it's already
too broad.
Mr. Paul Calarco: As far as preventing any type of recidivism is
concerned or offering protections—
Mr. Bob Dechert: Okay. So the Bar Association believes that the
current police-accessible registry is too broad and should be
narrowed.
Mr. Paul Calarco: As it relates to public protection or the
detection of crime, yes, sir.
Mr. Bob Dechert: Okay. So you're suggesting something less
than what we already have.
Mr. Paul Calarco: Yes. I think it has to be amended.
Mr. Bob Dechert: All right. That's fair enough. I just wanted to
clarify that.
Thank you.
February 16, 2015
The Chair: First of all, let me thank our witnesses today. We had
the interruption with the votes. You've provided a tremendous
amount of information, and thank you for hanging in here, giving
your presentations, and answering some very tough questions. The
debate this afternoon has been excellent.
I want to remind committee members that we are to do clause-byclause on this on Wednesday. Keep an eye open for the room
number. We're trying to get a room that might be a little bit closer to
the House, if we can do that, but keep an eye on it. Also, if you have
any amendments, we would like them in advance, by 3 p.m.
tomorrow, if you could.
Ms. Françoise Boivin: We'll try, but with what you have and
what we have to do ourselves....
The Chair: I know you'll do your best.
Ms. Françoise Boivin: I can still present on the fly. We might
have to because of the—
The Chair: You certainly can.
With that, we'll adjourn until Wednesday.
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