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Bill C-10 passes third reading in the House of Commons

Paul Heidebrecht

In a vote late on December 5, Bill C-10, the Safe Streets and Communities Act, cleared the House of Commons and was sent to the Senate. Given the Conservative majority, the fate of the bill was never in doubt, although the vote was split clearly along party lines. All 157 Conservative Members of Parliament present voted in favour of the bill, while all 127 NDP, Liberal, and Bloc Québécois MPs present voted against it.

Nonetheless, this vote came with some controversy as the government limited debate on the bill at both second and third reading, as well as during the committee study phase. This meant that, despite having heard from a wide range of witnesses--including Wilma Derksen, speaking on behalf of MCC Canada--no amendments were approved by the committee. It also meant that the government refused to permit debate on 88 amendments moved by opposition parties at third reading.

In a letter to the Minister of Justice earlier this fall, MCC requested that the government give careful consideration to the bill at every step of the legislative process, and that message continues to be relevant as the Senate commences its own study of the bill. The government now has another opportunity to consider amendments to address inadequacies with the bill.

MCC has welcomed the intervention of supporters from across Canada who have contacted their Member of Parliament to express their own concerns with Bill C-10. We hope that widespread public scrutiny of this legislation will also lead the government--and all Canadians--to pay greater attention to creative community-based initiatives that address the root causes of crime.