François Lareau, LL.M.
55-890 Cahill Dr. W.
Ottawa, ON, K1V 9A4
Telephone: (613) 521-3689
Fax: (613) 521-4522
Ottawa, 23 August 1998
Mr. L. Denis Desautels
Auditor General of Canada
240 Sparks St.
Ottawa, ON, K1V 0G6
Subject: Modern Criminal Code and General Part -
Department of Justice Canada
I am writing
to you on a matter of public accountability and management on the part
of the Minister of Justice and her Department regarding the review of the
Criminal Code and more recently the General Part. This matter
was investigated and reported on by the Auditor General in 1985 and 1988
In her letter of 16 April 1998 and after more than five months, the Honourable Anne McLellan, Minister of Justice Canada informed me that "...it is my not [sic] intention to undertake a comprehensive recodification of the General Part". You will find enclosed a photocopy of her letter and my three letters (with a copy of the letter of the Honourable Allan Rock dated 25 April 1994).
You will recall
the following facts: :
- in 1986, the Law Reform Commission of Canada published its report number 30, Recodifying Criminal Law, followed in 1988 by report number 31, Recodifying Criminal Law (A Revised and Enlarged Edition of Report 30);
- in June 1990, the Honourable Kim Campbell, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada asked the Standing Committee on Justice and the Solicitor General to review the General Part of the Criminal Code;
-in February 1993, the Sub-Committee on the Recodification of the General Part of the Criminal Code of the Standing Committee on Justice and the Solicitor General submitted its report: First Principles: Recodifying the General Part of the Criminal Code of Canada - Report of the Sub-Committee on the Recodification of the General Part of the Criminal Code of the Standing Committee on Justice and the Solicitor General (copy of pp. 1-4 of the report attached);
-on 28 June 1993, the Minister of Justice Canada, the Honourable Pierre Blais, disclosed his white paper "on the renewal of the General Part" entitled "Proposals to amend the Criminal Code (general principles)" (attached is a copy of the Department of Justice Canada's News Release);
- on 12 November 1994, the Minister of Justice Canada, the Honourable Allan Rock, made public his consultation document, Reforming the General Part of the Criminal Code followed in December 1994 by the accompanying technical document Toward a New General Part of the Criminal Code - Details on Reform Options (I enclose a copy of the Department's of Justice Canada's News Release);
- in a document, Overview of Recent Activities and Departmental Achievements, Department of Justice of Canada, dated August 1997 and posted on the internet web site of the Department of Justice Canada (as seen on 12 August 1998 at http://canada.justice.gc.ca/Presentation/index_en.html), we read:
"REFORM OF THE GENERAL PART OF THE CRIMINAL CODE
The Department is reviewing the general rules of the principles of liability and defence to make them more complete and understandable to Canadians, to reflect modern societal values and court decisions, and to foster respect and confidence in the criminal justice system.
Consultations with provinces, the Canadian Bar Association, women's groups, police and other stakeholders will proceed throughout 1997."
- finally, concerning the consultations on the three defences mentioned in Mrs. McLellan's letter dated April 1998, a document Reforming Criminal Code Defences : Provocation, Self-Defence and Defence of Property - A Consultation Paper was made public in July 1998.
I think that this project of criminal law review concerning a modern Criminal Code needs to be looked at seriously before all these years of efforts do not fall into oblivion. I say nothing about the amount of public funds that has been spent on this project.
Our Criminal Code is looking more and more like the Income Tax Act. Every year, there are amendments and amendments.
I believe that good public management and accountability requires that this matter of the criminal law review, a modern Criminal Code starting with a General Part be examined again by the Auditor General.