François Lareau, LL.M.
55-890 Cahill Dr. W.
Ottawa, ON, K1V 9A4
Telephone: (613) 521-3689
Fax: (613) 521-4522
Ottawa, 14 August 1998
The Honourable Chris Decker
Minister of Justice and Attorney General
of Newfoundland and Labrador
P.O. Box 8700
St. John's, NF A1B 4J6
Subject: Reform of the General Part of the Criminal Code
I am writing this letter to you in order to inform you of the position of the Honourable Anne McLellan, Minister of Justice Canada (position that you probably know) concerning the reform of the General Part of the Criminal Code and in order to seek your support in reversing that position. You will find attached a photocopy of Mrs. McLellan's letter dated 16 April 1998 in which she informs me that "...it is my not [sic] intention to undertake a comprehensive recodification of the General Part". You will also find enclosed a photocopy of 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 (I attach a copy of pp. 1-4 of the report);
-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)" (please find attached 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 attach 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.
Is the Minister of Justice and Attorney General in agreement with the position of the Minister of Justice Canada as expressed in her letter of April 1998 that a comprehensive recodification of the General Part not be undertaken? Should such a policy be abandoned? How many efforts, time and money has the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador iven to this project of reform? Has the Province achieved its objectives? Would not the administration of Justice be better served if a new General Part would explain to its lawyers and citizens such matters as intention, recklessness and negligence and how they apply to the offences of the Special Part. Our Criminal Code is looking more and more like the Income Tax Act. Every year, there are amendments and amendments. As Attorney General, you know and understand how important it is for a society and its citizens to have a modern and clear Criminal Code.
I can not understand the position of the Minister. While changes to the Criminal Code are a federal responsibility, the provinces have a vital interest in its contents as they are in charge of the administration of justice. The Minister of Justice Canada will listen to the Provinces if they speak to her. I would ask you to write to the Minister of Justice Canada in order that all the work and efforts regarding the recodification of the General Part do not fall into oblivion. It has been more than 25 years since the Government of Canada has publishedits policy The Criminal Law in Canadian Society in 1982. I believe that the Minister of Justice Canada should publicly set an agenda for the reform of the General Part and the Special Part of the Criminal Code. In other words objectives and a reasonable time table. Could you raise this matter at the next federal- provincial meeting of ministers of Justice?
I am curious if
your Department submitted a brief in response to the June 1993 document
"Proposals to amend the Criminal Code (general principles)" or for the
documents of November and December 1994 mentioned above? In the affirmative,
would it be possible to obtain a copy, please. Thank you.
I hope to hear from you in the near future.