The Expungement Act “doesn’t cover what it needs to cover”

Elizabeth May

Mr. Speaker, I have some of the same concerns that my hon. colleague from Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke has raised, and I am sure the member is familiar with these criticisms, which I will put to him.

Gary Kinsman, for instance, a professor emeritus of sociology from Laurentian University, as a historian, noted that the bill does not cover what it needs to cover. Specifically, bawdy house offences are particularly concerning. I want to quote what Gary Kinsman said, which is that this bill “doesn’t cover what it needs to cover. And it’s also been done without any consultation with people in the LGBTQ, two-spirited communities. None of us who are historians and experts on the sexual history of Canada and the sexual regulation of same-sex sexuality have been consulted.”

It is really welcome. I know we are speeding this through before Christmas and we do not usually like to hesitate in passing something that is in the general direction of righting past injustices, but how does the government propose to deal with the exclusions of really significant offences, for which people have records that should be expunged?

Randy Boissonnault – Member for Edmonton Centre

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member’s work in this area and her commitment to human rights. She will understand well that the 2005 Supreme Court decision on Labaye took a lot of the teeth that were in the legislation pertaining to bawdy house laws out of the legislation. What is important to note is the fact that in its current state, there is no jurisprudence that indicates that the current state of the law post-2005 Labaye would violate charter provisions. That is something we are mindful of.

What is important to note is that this legislation is historical. The Government of Canada stepping in to expungement is something that has never been done before and we take the member’s recommendations and comments to heart.