Strengthening Military Justice in the Defence of Canada Act (Bill C-15)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I am trying to contemplate how the government side can say that turning this key component of the Federal Accountability Act on its head is in the interests of military combat situations.

We are talking about military police investigating events of a criminal nature after the fact. The Provost Marshal would certainly be able to control when military police are investigating an event. The idea had never occurred to anyone until 1998 that the Chief of the Defence Staff should ever give instructions to affect the investigation of an event being investigated by military police. We are now told that in 2013 we have suddenly realized that since 1998 this separation of authorities would have somehow put people at risk in a field of battle.

Conservatives say I do not understand it, and they are right. I do not believe it. I do not understand how it could possibly be the case that one would want to accept this reason for causing this entire bill to potentially violate the charter.

I would ask my friend from Beaches—East York for his thoughts.


Matthew Kellway: Mr. Speaker, the government side has offered up this very narrow hypothetical set of circumstances to put a bill, which is on the whole a very positive step forward, in danger of being deemed unconstitutional. The general rule and principles set out in the accountability framework should survive in Bill C-15. It is the expectation of Canadians that any justice system be fair and reasonable; I would even dare suggest that most Canadians would suggest that there be a higher onus on a justice system that applies to the men and women of our armed forces in light of what we ask them to do on our behalf.