François Lareau, LL.M.
55-890 Cahill Dr. W.
Ottawa, ON, K1V 9A4
Tel.: (613) 521-3689
Fax: (613) 521-4522
Ottawa, January 21, 1999
The Attorney General Charles Harnick
Ministry of The Attorney General
720 Bay St., 11th floor
Toronto, ON M5G 2K1
Dear Mr. Harnick:
Subject: Reform of the General Part of the Criminal Code
I would like to raise two points in this letter.
First, thank you for the brochure "Rapport aux contribuables: La sécurité protégeons nos communautés" that I just received in the mail this week. In the page devoted to the Young Offenders Act, I am informed that the government of Ontario has asked that the age of responsibility for children be less than 12 years for certain offences. This would entail an amendment to s. 13 of the Criminal Code, the provision dealing with the minimum age a person can be convicted of an offence. This section is a matter of principle dealt with the General Part of the Criminal Code. As you know, the Hon. Anne McLellan informed me in April 1998 that it was not her intention to undertake a comprehensive recodification of the General Part. I have written to her for more explanations on her decision that has taken the legal community interested in criminal law by total surprise. Unfortunately, the Minister has yet to justify her change of policy.
I do not
think that this issue of attribution raised by the age of liability for
children can be resolved in isolation from other matters of the General
Part such as duress, self-defence, to name but a few. The real issue
is a matter of defining a concept of a crime which must be reflected in
the General Part of the Criminal Code or, as a minimum, in
the structure of the General Part. In December 1998, the National
Criminal Justice Section of the Canadian Bar Association has voiced its
disagreement with the federal piecemeal approach to the reform of the General
Part in its "Submission on Reforming Criminal Code Defences" (its reaction
to the federal consultation paper on self-defence, defence of property
"The National Criminal Justice Section is strongly of the view that reform of the General Part of the Criminal Code should occur in a comprehensive and principled manner. The Consultation Paper is focused solely on three problematic defences which it proposes be amended in the absence of tackling the broader problem of recodifying the General Part. We are concerned that this type of incrimental approach is inherently problematic. It serves to perpetuate a Criminal Code which is archaic, incomplete, poorly organized and difficult to understand. Piecemeal modifications undercut the pressure on the Federal Government to undertake this comprehensive reform. That said, the National Criminal Justice Section understands that there are no plans to undertake comprehensive reform of the General Part at this time. Our comments on the proposed options for reform of the Criminal Code defences should be understood within the context of our strong preference for comprehensive reform."
The second point I would like to raise in my letter is your response to my November 9, 1998 letter to you. When you will sent it to me, I would like very much to post it on my web site and more particularly at "Chronology - Towards a Modern General Part of a New Criminal Code?" (http://www.achilles.net/~flareau/chronologie_.htm). I have already posted some correspondence regarding the province of Ontario at this web page. The purpose of my pages on the General Part is to encourage research on the General Part and promote the realization of the importance of the General Part.
I am sending
a copy of this letter to the Hon. McLellan and to her Deputy Minister,
Mr. Rosenberg. I am hoping that dialogue and reflection will ensue
on this matter of conceptual approach to criminal law reform.
copy: The Hon. Anne McLellan
Mr. Morris Rosenberg