Bill S-248: Removing Final Consent For Assisted Suicide Requests

Remember how people were warning that assisted suicide (medical assistance in dying or MAiD) wouldn’t be the limited measure that was initially laid out? Those alarmists worried that safeguards and conditions would be rolled back to further expand this “procedure”.

Well, here we go again. Senate Bill S-248 would allow people to enter into contracts that would permit the euthanasia, even if the person isn’t capable of giving that final consent.

Supporters of MAiD had always claimed that the patient would always have the option to change their mind, and to back out. This would allow for contemplation, and for cooler heads to prevail.

From the description of the Bill:

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to
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(a) permit an individual whose death is not reasonably foreseeable to enter into a written arrangement to receive medical assistance in dying on a specified day if they lose the capacity to consent to receiving medical assistance in dying prior to that day; and
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(b) permit an individual who has been diagnosed with a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability to make a written declaration to waive the requirement for final consent when receiving medical assistance in dying if they lose the capacity to consent to receive medical assistance in dying, are suffering from symptoms outlined in the written declaration and have met all other relevant safeguards outlined in the Criminal Code.

Of course, the usual questions will come up. Did the person fully understand and support this decision? Was their undue influence? Did they ever change their mind? How do we determine whether or not they are capable of giving that final go-ahead?

There is still a provision that the person can speak or gesture to indicate that they no longer wish to go through with this. However, if they are incapacitated, that obviously won’t help.

This Bill was brought by Pamela Wallin. A decade ago, she became infamous for playing fast and loose with her expenses and got suspended, along with Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau.

In her capacity as a Senator, Wallin has had some interesting visitors recently.

Wallin brought this Bill on June 2, 2022. The day before, the Alzheimer Society of Canada had paid a visit. Among the topics listed in their lobbying profiled was: “Parliamentary review of medical assistance in dying with respect to advance requests”. In other words, go ahead, even if final consent can’t be obtained.

Field Trip Psychedelics Inc. has also been in touch with Wallin. This was concering the: “regulation of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy that would give Canadians access to medical, non-recreational, psilocybin therapy.”

The Canadian Palliative Hospice Care Assocation also has contacted Wallin. Although their profile does mention end of life care, it doesn’t specify assisted suicide.

In any event, these are probably just coincidences, right?

Shouldn’t be any surprise that Wallin brought this Bill. But seriously, how far back do we keep pushing the line, or is there a limit?

(1) https://www.parl.ca/legisinfo/en/bill/44-1/s-248
(2) https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/44-1/bill/S-248/first-reading
(3) https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/senate-moving-to-suspend-pamela-wallin-mike-duffy-1.2101305
(4) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/cmmLgPblcVw?comlogId=533156
(5) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=367664&regId=905218&blnk=1
(6) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/cmmLgPblcVw?comlogId=533156
(7) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=14475&regId=923718&blnk=1
(8) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/cmmLgPblcVw?comlogId=523500
(9) https://lobbycanada.gc.ca/app/secure/ocl/lrs/do/vwRg?cno=15059&regId=917004&blnk=1

Bill C-5: Eliminating Mandatory Sentences For Serious Gun Crimes

Canada’s Bill C-5 is a piece of legislation has been rightfully criticized as gutting the strength of crimes involving firearms. While this is true, it’s quite shocking to see the actual details.

Comparing the current version of the Criminal Code versus the changes being pushed, it’s unsettling. Punishments for some of the most serious offences are being gutted.

Here’s a look at some of the changes that would be made.

Using firearm in commission of offence
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85 (1) Every person commits an offence who uses a firearm, whether or not the person causes or means to cause bodily harm to any person as a result of using the firearm,
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(a) while committing an indictable offence, other than an offence under section 220 (criminal negligence causing death), 236 (manslaughter), 239 (attempted murder), 244 (discharging firearm with intent), 244.2 (discharging firearm — recklessness), 272 (sexual assault with a weapon) or 273 (aggravated sexual assault), subsection 279(1) (kidnapping) or section 279.1 (hostage taking), 344 (robbery) or 346 (extortion);
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(b) while attempting to commit an indictable offence; or
(c) during flight after committing or attempting to commit an indictable offence.
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Marginal note: Using imitation firearm in commission of offence
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(2) Every person commits an offence who uses an imitation firearm
(a) while committing an indictable offence,
(b) while attempting to commit an indictable offence, or
(c) during flight after committing or attempting to commit an indictable offence,
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whether or not the person causes or means to cause bodily harm to any person as a result of using the imitation firearm.
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Marginal note: Punishment
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(3) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) or (2) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable
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(a) in the case of a first offence, except as provided in paragraph (b), to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; and
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(b) in the case of a second or subsequent offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of three years.

Under the current version of the Criminal Code, a person faced a minimum of a year in prison (for a first offence), and 3 years (for subsequent offences). While this is still pretty lenient, there were at least minimums. This applies to:

  • s.220 (criminal negligence causing death)
  • s.236 (manslaughter)
  • s.239 (attempted murder)
  • s.244 (discharging firearm with intent)
  • s.244.2 (discharging firearm — recklessness)
  • s.272 (sexual assault with a weapon)
  • s.273 (aggravated sexual assault),
  • s.279(1) (kidnapping)
  • s.279.1 (hostage taking)
  • s.344 (robbery)
  • s.346 (extortion)

However, s.85(3) would be rewritten to remove the minimum terms, and simply replace them with 14 year maximums. Not only are the minimums removed, but another part of the Bill changes the rules surrounding conditional sentencing (house arrest) for serious crimes.

It’s worth pointing out that there doesn’t seem to be much of a distinction between a crime committed using a real firearm v.s. one where a replica is used. Makes sense, as it wouldn’t really matter to the victims, if they believed it to be real.

Reasonable people can disagree on how widespread minimum sentencing should be. That said, there are offences where it needs to exist, just to have some sense of law and order.

Possession of firearm knowing its possession is unauthorized
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92 (1) Subject to subsection (4), every person commits an offence who possesses a prohibited firearm, a restricted firearm or a non-restricted firearm knowing that the person is not the holder of
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(a) a licence under which the person may possess it; and
(b) in the case of a prohibited firearm or a restricted firearm, a registration certificate for it.
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Marginal note: Possession of prohibited weapon, device or ammunition knowing its possession is unauthorized
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(2) Subject to subsection (4), every person commits an offence who possesses a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device, other than a replica firearm, or any prohibited ammunition knowing that the person is not the holder of a licence under which the person may possess it.
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Marginal note: Punishment
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(3) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) or (2) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable
(a) in the case of a first offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years;
(b) in the case of a second offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; and
(c) in the case of a third or subsequent offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of two years less a day.

For possession of a firearm (where it’s known to be illegal, second and subsequent convictions currently carry mandatory jail sentences. This Bill would change that to simply a maximum punishment of 10 years. It would be entirely up to the Judge to impose the sentence.

Possession of prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition
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95 (1) Subject to subsection (3), every person commits an offence who, in any place, possesses a loaded prohibited firearm or restricted firearm, or an unloaded prohibited firearm or restricted firearm together with readily accessible ammunition that is capable of being discharged in the firearm, without being the holder of
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(a) an authorization or a licence under which the person may possess the firearm in that place; and
(b) the registration certificate for the firearm.
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Marginal note: Punishment
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(2) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1)
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(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of
(i) in the case of a first offence, three years, and
(ii) in the case of a second or subsequent offence, five years; or

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(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

In fairness, this change is one that actually makes sense. There is no crime or issue other than simple possession and storage. Here the minimum sentence (if by way of indictment) would be 1, 3, or 5 years, depending on previous convictions. In theory, a person could be locked up for handing the guns of a friend or family member.

Granted, there was the exception built in for being directly supervised by someone with lawful possession. That said, the current form seemed to open to interpretation.

s.96(2)‍(a) of the Criminal Code carries a 1 year minimum for people who obtain firearms if they knew that it was done illegally. That minimum would be removed under Bill C-5. Of course, there’s an exception that allows the person to turn it in without consequences.

s.99(3) covers weapons trafficking, and lists a 1 year minimum jail term for people convicted of this offense. Consistent with other changes, that mandatory provision would be removed. Instead, there would simply be a 10 year maximum sentence.

s.100(3) gets into possession for the purposes of trafficking. Similarly, the 1 year mandatory minimum sentence would be struck from the Criminal Code.

s.103(2.1) removes the 1 year minimum sentence for importing or exporting firearms, if it’s known they are unauthorized. However, this change will only apply to guns that are neither restricted nor prohibited.

Discharging firearm with intent
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244 (1) Every person commits an offence who discharges a firearm at a person with intent to wound, maim or disfigure, to endanger the life of or to prevent the arrest or detention of any person — whether or not that person is the one at whom the firearm is discharged.
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Marginal note: Punishment
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(2) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable
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(a) if a restricted firearm or prohibited firearm is used in the commission of the offence or if the offence is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with, a criminal organization, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of
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(i) in the case of a first offence, five years, and
(ii) in the case of a second or subsequent offence, seven years; and
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(b) in any other case, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years.

Currently, if it’s not a prohibited or restricted firearm, and not done in association with a criminal organization, there is a 4 year minimum. That would disappear under this Bill.

Side note: if a gun is discharged in a way that’s designed to wound, maim or disfigure, to endanger the life of a person, that sounds pretty close to attempted murder.

Discharging firearm — recklessness
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244.2 (1) Every person commits an offence
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(a) who intentionally discharges a firearm into or at a place, knowing that or being reckless as to whether another person is present in the place; or
(b) who intentionally discharges a firearm while being reckless as to the life or safety of another person.
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Definition of place
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(2) For the purpose of paragraph (1)(a), place means any building or structure — or part of one — or any motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft, railway vehicle, container or trailer.
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Marginal note: Punishment
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(3) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of an indictable offence and
(a) if a restricted firearm or prohibited firearm is used in the commission of the offence or if the offence is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with a criminal organization, is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of
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(i) five years, in the case of a first offence, and
(ii) seven years, in the case of a second or subsequent offence; and
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(b) in any other case, is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years.

Recklessly discharging a firearm (that’s not restricted or prohibited) currently carries a 4 year minimum jail sentence. That would be eliminated under this Bill, at least in its current form.

A pattern in this legislation is that removing minimum sentences only seems to apply to non-restricted or prohibited firearms. They really seem intent on pushing that.

Robbery
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344 (1) Every person who commits robbery is guilty of an indictable offence and liable
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(a) if a restricted firearm or prohibited firearm is used in the commission of the offence or if any firearm is used in the commission of the offence and the offence is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with, a criminal organization, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of
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(i) in the case of a first offence, five years, and
(ii) in the case of a second or subsequent offence, seven years;
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(a.1) in any other case where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and
(b) in any other case, to imprisonment for life.

Robbery with a firearm (that’s not restricted or prohibited) currently carries a 4 year minimum jail sentence. That would be removed under this Bill, leaving open the possibility of a convict receiving a conditional sentence.

Extortion
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s.346.(1.1) Every person who commits extortion is guilty of an indictable offence and liable
(a) if a restricted firearm or prohibited firearm is used in the commission of the offence or if any firearm is used in the commission of the offence and the offence is committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with, a criminal organization, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of
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(a.1) in any other case where a firearm is used [non restricted or prohibited] in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and

Bill C-5 would remove a provision that imposes a mandatory 4 year prison term for extortion using a non-restricted firearm by repealing s.346(1.1)(a.1). However, there is a separate section dealing with restricted and prohibited firearms, that appears to be left intact.

The criminal would still be exposed to a potential life sentence, but the minimum term would be eliminated.

Imposing of conditional sentence
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742.1 If a person is convicted of an offence and the court imposes a sentence of imprisonment of less than two years, the court may, for the purpose of supervising the offender’s behaviour in the community, order that the offender serve the sentence in the community, subject to the conditions imposed under section 742.3, if
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(c) the offence is not an offence, prosecuted by way of indictment, for which the maximum term of imprisonment is 14 years or life;

Offenses which were ineligible for house arrest (conditional sentencing) include:

  • s.268 aggravated assault
  • s.272.(1)(a) sexual assault with a weapon
  • s.272.(1)(b) sexual assault with threats to cause bodily harm
  • s.272.(1)(c) sexual assault causing bodily harm
  • s.272.(1)(c.1) sexual assault involving choking, suffocation or strangulation
  • s.273 aggravated sexual assault

Now, should this Bill pass in its current form, people convicted of the above would once again be eligible for house arrest as an alternative to prison. Instead, 3 specific offences will be listed.

  • s.239 (attempted murder)
  • s.269.1 (torture)
  • s.318 (advocating genocide)

Strange that a “feminist” administration claims to care so much about women, while trying pass legislation to make it easier for violent and sexual predators to avoid prison time.

In fairness, just because conditional sentencing is back on the table, it doesn’t mean that convicts would be getting it in large numbers. It just means that the option has been restored.

It’s also illogical that this Government would be putting the screws to legal gun owners, while watering down the criminal punishments for offences involving guns. Then again, perhaps causing chaos or instability is what’s really at play here.

Consider the earlier coverage of Bill C-75, which was introduced in Trudeau’s first term. This monster included: (a) reduced penalties for terrorism offences; (b) reduced penalties for child sex offences; (c) influence from groups pushing alternative lifestyles; and (d) decriminalizing misinformation.

It’s quite amazing what can be inserted into legislation, and the effects it will have. However, far too few people actually read into these things.

(1) https://www.parl.ca/legisinfo/en/bill/44-1/c-5
(2) https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/44-1/bill/C-5/third-reading
(3) https://www.laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-46/index.html
(4) https://www.laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/f-11.6/FullText.html#h-224023

Private Member’s Bill C-261: Red Flag Laws In Canada For Hate Speech?

Bill C-261 is a piece of legislation that will allow individual members of the public to get Court orders against other people. This can be done if they have “reasonable grounds for fearing” that someone is, or will engage in hate speech, promote hate or violence, or commit an offence that is motivated by hate.

Hate motivated crimes are already illegal, and subject to serious consequences. That being said, this Bill would permit people to seek Court orders based on what someone might do. There’s no requirement that an offense have already been committed.

And what is “hate propaganda” for these purposes? It’s unclear. Would saying that men are men and that women are women qualify?

To address the obvious: yes, this is a Private Member’s Bill. They rarely become law.

However, it’s worth covering as it gives an insight into the kinds of activities our elected officials are talking about. Moreover, the content of a Private Bill may one day be slipped into a larger Bill, receiving little to no scrutiny.

Appearances
(2) The provincial court judge who receives an information under subsection (1) may cause the parties to appear before a provincial court judge.

Adjudication
(3) If the provincial court judge before whom the parties appear is satisfied by the evidence adduced that the informant has reasonable grounds for the fear, the judge may order that the defendant enter into a recognizance to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for a period of not more than 12 months.

Duration extended
(4) However, if the provincial court judge is also satisfied that the defendant was convicted previously of any offence referred to in subsection (1), the judge may order that the defendant enter into the recognizance for a period of not more than two years.

Refusal to enter into recognizance
(5) The provincial court judge may commit the defendant to prison for a term of not more than 12 months if the defendant fails or refuses to enter into the recognizance.

Here’s where the enforcement comes in. If the person refuses to enter into the recognizance (court order) that person can be incarcerated for a year.

It’s unclear what threshold would be required for the Judge to conclude that someone has a reasonable fear. This comes across as being entirely subjective.

Conditions in recognizance
Start of inserted block
(6) The provincial court judge may add any reasonable conditions to the recognizance that the judge considers desirable to secure the good conduct of the defendant, including conditions that
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(a) require the defendant to wear an electronic monitoring device, if the Attorney General makes that request;
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(b) require the defendant to return to and remain at their place of residence at specified times;
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(c) require the defendant to abstain from the consumption of drugs, except in accordance with a medical prescription, of alcohol or of any other intoxicating substance;
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(d) require the defendant to provide, for the purpose of analysis, a sample of a bodily substance prescribed by regulation on the demand of a peace officer, a probation officer or someone designated under paragraph 810.‍3(2)‍(a) to make a demand, at the place and time and on the day specified by the person making the demand, if that person has reasonable grounds to believe that the defendant has breached a condition of the recognizance that requires them to abstain from the consumption of drugs, alcohol or any other intoxicating substance;
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(e) require the defendant to provide, for the purpose of analysis, a sample of a bodily substance prescribed by regulation at regular intervals that are specified, in a notice in Form 51 served on the defendant, by a probation officer or a person designated under paragraph 810.‍3(2)‍(b) to specify them, if a condition of the recognizance requires the defendant to abstain from the consumption of drugs, alcohol or any other intoxicating substance; or
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(f) prohibit the defendant from communicating, directly or indirectly, with any person identified in the recognizance, or refrain from going to any place specified in the recognizance, except in accordance with the conditions specified in the recognizance that the judge considers necessary.

Without having been charged or convicted of any offence, a Judge has the power to impose:
(a) electronic monitoring
(b) house arrest or a curfew
(c) an alcohol prohibition
(d) demands to provide samples for testing
(e) no contact orders, or orders to stay away from places

And it doesn’t stop there.

Conditions — firearms
(7) The provincial court judge shall consider whether it is desirable, in the interests of the defendant’s safety or that of any other person, to prohibit the defendant from possessing any firearm, cross-bow, prohibited weapon, restricted weapon, prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or explosive substance, or all of those things. If the judge decides that it is desirable to do so, the judge shall add that condition to the recognizance and specify the period during which it applies.

Surrender, etc.
(8) If the provincial court judge adds a condition described in subsection (7) to a recognizance, the judge shall specify in the recognizance how the things referred to in that subsection that are in the defendant’s possession shall be surrendered, disposed of, detained, stored or dealt with and how the authorizations, licences and registration certificates that are held by the defendant shall be surrendered.

Reasons
(9) If the provincial court judge does not add a condition described in subsection (7) to a recognizance, the judge shall include in the record a statement of the reasons for not adding it.

A Judge can also order that a person be prohibited from possessing any weapons, and be ordered to surrender any that they do have. Again, a person doesn’t have to be criminally charged for any of this to take place.

Interestingly, the Judge would be required to provide an explanation if there is no provision to prohibit that person from owning or using firearms or other weapons.

The language here is quite similar to Bill C-21, which would allow private citizens to have guns removed if a Judge viewed someone as a threat. There was a lot wrong with that Bill, but C-261 would water down the requirement so that the target didn’t even have to be a threat.

There is the safeguard that the Attorney General has to approve such an application. But that raises the question of to what degree this process will be open to political interference. Worse, the vague wording on what qualifies leaves a lot open to interpretation.

While this particular piece may not go anywhere, it’s entirely possible that the content will be stuffed into another Bill at some point in the future. Vigilance is needed.

(1) https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/44-1/bill/C-261/first-reading
(2) https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/44-1/bill/C-21/first-reading
(3) https://canucklaw.ca/bill-c-21-reintroduced-legislation-to-whittle-away-gun-rights/

Bill C-75: Removing Prohibition On “Misinformation” From Criminal Code (Reminder)

Bill C-75 has been covered a few times before. There was the watering down of penalties for terrorism offences, child sex offences, and the NGOs who were pushing this degeneracy. That said, this piece of work isn’t finished revealing all of its dirty secrets.

Supposedly, this was in response to a 1992 Supreme Court of Canada ruling. Seems pretty strange to deal with it nearly 30 years later.

At the time of this Bill, Jody Wilson-Raybould was the Minister of Justice. Absurdly, she hailed as a “hero” for standing up to Trudeau on SNC Lavalin, despite advancing all kinds of horrible legislation he was responsible for. Seems that her entire profile didn’t matter.

But thanks to a provision slipped into that Bill, it will no longer be a criminal offence to knowingly spread lies with the intent of causing harm or mischief. While this “appears” to be a win for free speech advocates, the timing is suspicious, considering what would come in 2020.

This is what Section 181 of the criminal code used to say. It has since been repealed, and taken off the books, at least for the time being.

Spreading false news
181 Every one who wilfully publishes a statement, tale or news that he knows is false and that causes or is likely to cause injury or mischief to a public interest is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 177

While Bill C-75 did go through Parliamentary study, it doesn’t appear as if this single line was examined at all. Perhaps people were more concerned with reduced penalties for terrorists.

This is not the only time this sort of thing has been buried in larger Bills. Another recent example was pulling Government oversight with the Human Pathogens and Toxins Act, Quarantine Act. This was done by embedding it into a budget.

Of course, in early 2020, Ottawa proposed its own version of “misinformation” laws. Thankfully, those seem to have gone nowhere.

(1) https://www.parl.ca/legisinfo/en/bill/42-1/c-75
(2) https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/bill/C-75/royal-assent
(3) https://www.ourcommons.ca/Members/en/jody-wilson-raybould(89494)
(4) https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/csj-sjc/pl/cuol-mgnl/c-39.html
(5) https://www.laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-46/page-25.html#h-118691
(6) http://www.criminalnotebook.ca/index.php/List_of_Criminal_Code_Amendments_
(7) https://www.ourcommons.ca/Committees/en/JUST/StudyActivity?studyActivityId=10210275
(8) https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/904/index.do?

British Columbia’s Convoluted Stance On Drugs And Safety

This article is going to be a little disjointed, but the purpose is to show how convoluted and illogical drugs policies are becoming in the Province of British Columbia.

Decriminalization
B.C. is the first province in Canada to receive a three-year exemption from the federal government to remove criminal penalties for people who possess small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use. Decriminalization of people who use drugs will reduce the fear and shame that keeps people silent and leads so many to hide their drug use and avoid treatment and support. Reducing the stigma of drug use is a vital part of B.C.’s work to build a comprehensive system of mental health and substance use care. Decriminalization will become effective Jan. 31, 2023, and the Province will work with a broad cross-section of partners to make sure police are trained and health authorities are prepared for this change.

The B.C Government got a 3 year exemption from Ottawa for possession of narcotics — any narcotics — that are in small enough quantities, and for personal use.

The (outgoing) Premier sent his condolences for deaths that resulted from a poisoned supply. Of course, it’s a bit rich considering that these drugs are poison to begin with. Perhaps they were just killing off the customers too quickly.

Just 2 years ago, Horgan actually recommended staying home and smoking pot as a way to stay safe during the so-called pandemic. There was even a “Good Times” website up in the Summer of 2020. It’s since been removed, but the archived version is still available.

The BCCDC, or B.C. Centre for Disease Control, has guidelines surrounding illicit drug use. Note: it doesn’t appear that stopping is a major objective. Here’s an archived version of it.

Some initiatives to combat drug abuse include:

  • Decriminalization
  • Access to prescribed safer supply, a Canadian first
  • Overdose prevention and supervised consumption services
  • Lifeguard App
  • Take-home naloxone kits
  • New beds for addictions and recovery care
  • Expanded scope of nursing practice, a Canadian first (RN prescriptions)
  • Expanded opioid agonist treatment

Now, there are also programs at various stages for emergency responses and expanded treatment options. However, considering the efforts untaken to expand drug use in this Province, efforts to stop the problem seem insincere.

Of course, the BC Centre for Disease Control is compromised, to put it mildly. The BCCDC Foundation is a registered charity, and gets major tax breaks. Its donors include drug companies, creating a serious conflict of interest. (Archive here). Should the organizations impacting public policy be getting donations from the same companies who profit from — vaccine mandates?

Champions
Our $75,000 – $250,000 Donors

  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Julie Glover
  • Pfizer Canada Inc.
  • Unbounded Canada Foundation
  • Vancouver Foundation

Ambassadors
$25,000 – $74,999.99 Donors

  • British Columbia Association for Sexual Health
  • Merck Canada Inc.
  • Pacific Blue Cross
  • Teradici Corp

Allies
$5,000 – $24,999.99 Donors

  • AbbVie Canada Corp.
  • Associated Canadian Theological Schools Society
  • BC Teachers’ Federation
  • Ben and Lilac Milne
  • BlueSky Properties
  • Chef Ann Kirsebom’s Gourmet Sauces / BBQ Ltd.
  • Connor, Clark & Lunn Foundation
  • Gilead Sciences Canada Inc.
  • Imperial Medical Group Inc.
  • Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel Ltd.
  • LifeLabs
  • London Drugs Limited
  • Orbis Investments Canada Ltd.
  • Sanofi
  • Vancouver Dispensary Society
  • Vard Electro Canada Inc.

Just a thought: but perhaps the pharma money that the BCCDC Foundation receives contributes to the fact that it’s so pro-pharma. This cannot be ignored. Nor can the charity status of the B.C. Provincial Health Services Authority.

In 2018, B.C. began a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all federal, provincial and territorial governments in Canada and enacted the Opioid Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act. The aim of the class action and legislation is to recover health-care costs that resulted from wrongful conduct of opioid manufacturers, distributors and their consultants.

B.C. alleges that opioid manufacturers, distributors and their consultants engaged in deceptive marketing practices with a view to increase sales, resulting in increased rates of addiction and overdose. Purdue Canada is one among over 40 manufacturers and distributors named in the class action commenced in 2018 and scheduled for a certification hearing in the next year.

The proposed settlement with Purdue Canada has been agreed to by all federal, provincial and territorial governments and totals $150 million in monetary benefits, plus additional benefits including access to information and documents relevant to the lawsuit. This settlement was reached very early in the litigation process, before the allegations against Purdue Canada have been proven in court. This is the largest settlement of a governmental health claim in Canadian history. The proposed agreement is still subject to final approval by the courts, expected in the next few months.

At the end of June 2022, the B.C. announced a proposed $150 million settlement with Purdue Canada over its business practices.

Taxpayers are on the hook for the extra health care costs, and it seems unlikely that court rulings will come close to compensating the public. Of course, this only speaks to the financial burdens, not the societal and personal losses.

This is pretty convoluted to think that drug laws are getting watered down, resulting in easier access to drugs. Meanwhile, society is plagued by the results of legal drugs (opioids). It’s not just deaths, but ruined lives and families that are the collateral damages.

Will this settlement result in these pharmaceuticals being taken off the market, at least for the most part? Or will these court actions simply be viewed as the cost of doing business?

It’s difficult to see that the Government here is serious about ending drug problems in this Province. Then again, maybe the goal is not to stop it, but just to control it.

(1) https://twitter.com/jjhorgan/status/1559588217208184832
(2) https://twitter.com/jjhorgan/status/1294762295348715520
(3) https://goodtimes.gov.bc.ca/
(4) https://archive.ph/naVsZ
(5) http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/priority-populations/people-who-use-substances
(6) https://archive.ph/AVbNY
(7) https://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/escalated-drug-poisoning-response-actions-1
(8) http://www.bccdc.ca/health-professionals/data-reports/substance-use-harm-reduction-dashboard
(9) https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/life-events/death/coroners-service/statistical-reports
(10) https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/birth-adoption-death-marriage-and-divorce/deaths/coroners-service/statistical/illicit-drug-type.pdf
(11) https://canucklaw.ca/bc-centre-for-disease-control-foundation-is-registered-charity-with-pharma-funding/
(12) https://bccdcfoundation.org/our-donors/
(13) https://archive.ph/bg8cd
(14) https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022AG0044-001031

Bill C-21: Reintroduced Legislation To Whittle Away Gun Rights

Bill C-21 was introduced in the last session of Parliament, but died when there was an election called. However, it’s been reintroduced, with some changes and new content. The changes primarily impact the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act.

It was recently announced, and covered by CPAC, that imports of handguns would be stopped by August 19, 2022. This was done by a regulatory change, without any democratic mandate or process. Seems that Ottawa doesn’t want to wait or take that chance.

Of course, the “temporary” measure announced on August 5th would be effectively made permanent if and when Bill C-21 is ever passed.

None of this ever addresses the elephant in the room: most serious crimes with firearms involve illegal guns, whereas this Bill primarily targets law abiding citizens. It’s almost as if there was some coordinated effort to disarm the population.

1. Adding “Red Flag” Laws To Canadian Criminal Code

Application for emergency prohibition order
110.‍1 (1) Any person may make an ex parte application to a provincial court judge for an order prohibiting another person from possessing any firearm, cross-bow, prohibited weapon, restricted weapon, prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or explosive substance, or all such things, if the person believes on reasonable grounds that it is not desirable in the interests of the safety of the person against whom the order is sought or of any other person that the person against whom the order is sought should possess any such thing.

Emergency prohibition order
(2) If, at the conclusion of a hearing of an application made under subsection (1), the provincial court judge is satisfied that the circumstances referred to in that subsection exist and that an order should be made without delay to ensure the immediate protection of any person, the judge shall make an order prohibiting the person against whom the order is sought from possessing any firearm, cross-bow, prohibited weapon, restricted weapon, prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or explosive substance, or all such things, for a period not exceeding 30 days, as is specified in the order, beginning on the day on which the order is made.

Service of order
(3) A copy of the order shall be served on the person to whom the order is addressed in the manner that the provincial court judge directs or in accordance with the rules of court.

Sections 109 and 110 of the Criminal Code call for people to be subjected to weapons prohibitions following convictions for certain offences. The proposed amendments would allow ordinary citizens to file an application to have another person’s guns seized.

The hearings would generally be ex-parte, or without the participation of the other side. That doesn’t really seem consistent with due process, or fairness.

There is a provision in the Bill to remove firearms if a protection order is issued against someone for domestic violence and/or stalking. However, that’s always been a remedy.

2. Adding “Yellow Flag” Laws, Halt/Suspend Certificates

Refusal to issue — chief firearms officer
68 Insertion start(1)Insertion end A chief firearms officer shall refuse to issue a licence if the applicant is not eligible to hold one and may refuse to issue an authorization to carry referred to in paragraph 20(b) or authorization to transport for any good and sufficient reason.

Refusal to issue — Commissioner
Start of inserted block
(2) The Commissioner may refuse to issue an authorization to carry referred to in paragraph 20(a) for any good and sufficient reason.

34 The Act is amended by adding the following after section 69:
Suspension
.
69.‍1 (1) If a chief firearms officer has reasonable grounds to suspect, on the basis of information that they have collected or received from any person, that the holder of a licence is no longer eligible to hold the licence, they may suspend, in respect of that licence, the holder’s authorization to use, acquire and import firearms for a period of up to 30 days.

Revocation of licence or authorization
70 (1) A chief firearms officer may revoke a licence, an authorization to carry referred to in paragraph 20(b)Insertion end or an authorization to transport — Insertion startand the Commissioner may revoke an authorization to carry referred to in paragraph 20(a)Insertion end — for any good and sufficient reason including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing,

A firearms officer can refuse to issue a permit “for any good and sufficient reason”. However, it’s not defined what a good and sufficient reason is This would make it almost entirely discretionary, and open to abuse. A license can also be suspended on those same grounds.

3. Prohibiting Any Sales Or Transfers Of Hundguns

Authorization to transfer prohibited or restricted firearms
.
23.2 (1) A person may transfer a prohibited firearm or a restricted firearm if, at the time of the transfer,
(a) the transferee holds a licence authorizing the transferee to acquire and possess that kind of firearm;
(b) the transferor has no reason to believe that the transferee is not authorized to acquire and possess that kind of firearm;
(c) the transferor informs the Registrar of the transfer;
(d) if the transferee is an individual, the transferor informs a chief firearms officer of the transfer and obtains the authorization of the chief firearms officer for the transfer;
(e) a new registration certificate for the firearm is issued in accordance with this Act; and
(f) the prescribed conditions are met.

27 On being informed of a proposed transfer of a prohibited firearm or restricted firearm under section 23.2, a chief firearms officer shall
(a) verify
(i) whether the transferee or individual holds a licence,
(ii) whether the transferee or individual is still eligible to hold that licence, and
(iii) whether the licence authorizes the transferee or individual to acquire that kind of firearm or to acquire prohibited weapons, prohibited devices, ammunition or prohibited ammunition, as the case may be;
.
(b) in the case of a proposed transfer of a restricted firearm or a handgun referred to in subsection 12(6.1) (pre-December 1, 1998 handguns), verify the purpose for which the transferee or individual wishes to acquire the restricted firearm or handgun and determine whether the particular restricted firearm or handgun is appropriate for that purpose;

These are Sections 23.2 and 27 of the Canada Firearms Act. It specifies the steps and actions needed to transfer a restricted or prohibited firearm from one party to another. Pretty straightforward. Bill C-21 would add an extra clause to that

[Section 23.2]
(d.‍1) if the transferee is an individual and the firearm is a handgun, the individual is referred to in section 97.‍1;

[Section 27]
(iv) if the proposed transfer is in respect of a handgun, whether the transferee is an individual referred to in section 97.‍1;

If a handgun is to be transferred to an individual, this would be referred to another portion of the Firearms Act. Section 97 allows the Governor in Council to restrict such sales or transfers.

4. Expanding Definition Of “Replica” Firearm

1 (1) The definition replica firearm in subsection 84(1) of the Criminal Code is replaced by the following:
replica firearm means any device that is designed or intended to exactly resemble, or to resemble with near precision, a firearm that is designed or adapted to discharge a shot, bullet or other projectile at a muzzle velocity exceeding 152.‍4 m per second and at a muzzle energy exceeding 5.‍7 Joules, and that itself is not a firearm, but does not include any such device that is designed or intended to exactly resemble, or to resemble with near precision, an antique firearm;

Changes to the criminal code would list that a replica firearm that can fire a projectile at a certain speed )(or with a certain amount of energy) can be prohibited. This could include things like paintball guns, which have valid recreational uses. Problem is, “exactly resemble” is subjective.

5. Other Thoughts On The Matter

There are a few small points which seem beneficial, such as making it harder for foreigners to enter Canada if they have convictions for certain firearms offences. But overall, that doesn’t offset the erosion of rights that’s being done with this legislation.

Another section would create a new criminal offence for altering the capacity of a magazine (allowing it to hold more bullets than allowed). While it sounds fine on the surface, someone with an illegal or stolen gun wouldn’t care about such things.

These measures do little to target crime. Instead, they restrict the rights of people to legally possess and use guns. Strange how that always seems to be the group of people these Bills hit.

Do read the entire Bill, as this critique is not exhaustive. It would be impractical for the Government to simply ban guns right away — though many would like to. Instead, introducing these measures bit by bit seems to be the way forward.

(1) https://www.cpac.ca/episode?id=38406422-ecdb-494b-8439-a1fbdeaf4e28
(2) https://www.laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/f-11.6/FullText.html
(3) https://www.laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-46/index.html
(4) https://canucklaw.ca/ottawa-to-ban-handgun-imports-august-19th-using-regulatory-measure/
(5) https://www.parl.ca/legisinfo/en/bill/43-2/c-21
(6) https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/43-2/bill/C-21/first-reading
(7) https://www.parl.ca/legisinfo/en/bill/44-1/c-21
(8) https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/44-1/bill/C-21/first-reading

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