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

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I am happy to welcome my hon. friend to the House. This the first time I have had an opportunity to put a question for the hon. member for Toronto—Danforth. I hope he will not mind if I trespass on his time to follow-up on a response from one of his caucus colleagues.

The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay made the mistake of thinking that I planned to vote for this bill. I do not plan to vote for the bill. I am fairly certain that I am the only member of Parliament who finds it objectionable to expand the powers of citizen’s arrest. I note particularly that, while the member for Timmins–James Bay said that this little change was nothing in terms of citizen’s arrest and private security firms, it would in fact create a new opportunity for people to arrest some reasonable time after the offence.

How does my friend from Toronto—Danforth feel about that?

Craig Scott: Mr. Speaker, I was upfront in my remarks when I said that I, like many people, have qualms about playing around too much with the citizen’s arrest provisions. However, the committee and ultimately the government in its proposed bill has this right.

The member is absolutely correct. It is true that there is a small extension of citizen’s arrest to include the arrest within a reasonable time after someone has been found committing an offence. However, there are a number of safeguards. This cannot be done if it is at all reasonable to expect the police to show up and do the job.

There are a couple of other provisions that I do not have time to go into that really attempt to send the signal that the Lucky Moose shop case with David Chen is really the paradigm. We need to work out from that, use that as the analogy and not accept this as a licence for anything resembling citizen’s arrest gone wild.