Citizen’s Arrest and Self-defence Act (Bill C-26)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for Newton—North Delta. I think she put very well the concerns one would have in looking at a bill that expands the access to citizen’s arrest. As a matter of fact, she made a point that I had previously made at second reading, which was that the most appropriate response in our technological society to most events when one feels at risk or sees a criminal event is to take pictures or videos on cellphones and get them to law enforcement authorities, but not try to intervene in a situation that could become violent. We have too many innocent bystanders who have intervened in criminal activities and have ended up injured or worse.

Although some amendments were accepted, I think we have to be mindful that earlier in this session of Parliament, the routine for bills from first reading to third reading was that no amendments were acceptable. However, we have certainly seen a maturing in the committee process for some amendments, such as the one from the hon. member for Mount Royal, which significantly improves the criteria on the self-defence side of the act.

With regard to the acceptability of Bill C-26, I would ask if the hon. member for Newton—North Delta agrees that it would have been preferable to follow the advice of the Canadian Bar Association and leave subsection 494(2) of the Criminal Code alone.

Jinny Jogindera Sims: Mr. Speaker, as legislators in Parliament, whenever we see legislation before us, we want to tweak it or change it totally, and sometimes we oppose things from one side of the room or the other. However, at this time the NDP is supporting this legislation. We feel that it goes a long way in giving clarity to our judiciary and will help in the process.

As my esteemed colleague has said, she did want one particular element left out. I would be hesitant to comment on that at this stage, simply because I have not had the opportunity to examine it in detail.