Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights (JUST)

The Justice committee met twice this week to pursue its study of Bill C-217, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (mischief relating to war memorials).

On Tuesday, the committee heard from David Tilson, M.P, the sponsor of the bill.; John Eggenberger , Vice-President of the Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association; Earl Page, veteran; and Terence Whitty of the Army Cadet League of Canada. All witnesses save one (Mr. Whitty) supported the means through the bill attempts to deter crimes committed with respect to war memorials and cenotaphs, namely, through the imposition of a thousand dollar fine and subsequent mandatory minimums of 60 and 90 days for second- and –third-time offences. After questioning the witnesses, the committee suspended and resumed sitting to pursue committee business related to budgetary expenses, and resumed consideration of the Main Estimates for 2012-2013. The Minutes can be found here.

On Thursday, the committee heard from Catherine Latimer of the John Howard Society and Leonard S. Russomanno, Criminal Defence Counsel, Webber Schroeder Goldstein Abergel. Both witnesses were heavily critical of the bill. The committee then commenced clause-by-clause study of the bill and adjourned to the call of the chair. The Minutes detailing the amendments advanced by the NDP and the Conservatives can be found here.