Federal Crime Bill Discussed At Justice Minister Meeting
The federal government's new crime bill was on everyone's mind for the second day of the justice ministers' meeting Wednesday in Charlottetown.
Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson joined 17 provincial justice and public safety ministers at their meeting.
On Wednesday morning, ministers talked about drug treatment programs and drug courts, and ways for drug-addicted criminals in some cases to avoid new mandatory minimum sentences.
However, Bill C-10, the Harper government's so-called "tough on crime legislation" dominated much of the discussion again Wednesday.
Bill C-10 includes tougher sentences for sexual crimes committed against children, the introduction of mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug crimes and changes to young offender laws.
The bill passed final reading in the House of Commons last month and heads to the Senate next week.
Some provinces — including P.E.I. and Ontario — are concerned about the cost of implementing it.
Ontario's Correctional Services Minister said it will cost $1 billion to implement the bill. She said if the federal government doesn't chip in, the province will have to cut services elsewhere.
“It is pretty clear that the administration of justice is paid for by the provinces and that is part of their constitutional responsibility. And over the years I have appreciated the suggestions that they have made,” said Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson.
“Over my five years as justice minister we have incorporated many of them, but every time we make changes to the Criminal Code, there is a cost.”
The meeting will wrap up Thursday.
The ministers will issue a joint statement then on any consensus reached about how to deal with the new bill and its price tag.
Key Measures In Tory Crime Bill
The bill, known as the Safe Streets and Communities Act, includes the following measures: <em>With files from The Canadian Press</em> (CP/Alamy)
Child Sex Offences
Heftier penalties for sexual offences against children. The bill also creates two new offences aimed at conduct that could facilitate or enable the commission of a sexual offence against a child. (MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Tougher sentences for the production and possession of illicit drugs for the purposes of trafficking. (NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
Violent And Young Offenders
Tougher penalties for violent and repeat young offenders. (JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
An end to the use of conditional sentences, or house arrest, for serious and violent crimes (GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images)
Allowing victims to participate in parole hearings. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
Extending ineligibility periods for applications for pardons to five years from three for summary-conviction offences and to 10 years from five for indictable offences. (Flickr: haven't the slightest)
Transferring Canadian Offenders
Expanding the criteria that the public safety minister can consider when deciding whether to allow the transfer of a Canadian offender back to Canada to serve a sentence. (JOEL ROBINE/AFP/Getty Images)
Allowing terrorism victims to sue terrorists and their supporters, including listed foreign states, for losses or damages resulting from an act of terrorism committed anywhere in the world.(STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)
Measures to prevent human trafficking and exploitation. (LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)