François Lareau, LL.M.
55-890 Cahill Dr. W.
Ottawa, ON, K1V 9A4
Tel.: (613) 521-3689
Fax: (613) 521-4522
Web page: http:// www.achilles.net/~flareau
Ottawa, January 23, 1999
The Honourable John Nilson, Q.C.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General - Saskatchewan
Room 30, Legislative Building
Regina, SK, S4S 0B3
Dear Mr. Nilson:
Subject: Reform of the General Part of the Criminal Code
Like me, you
have recently read the Hon. Anne McLellan's letter dated January 19, 1999
on the reform of the General Part (copy attached).
In my opinion and with respect, the Hon. McLellan is under the mistaken impression that one can reform the General Part in a piecemeal approach. We all know what a disjointed approach to law reform can do. To give an example, the Ontario government wants the federal government to lower the age a child can be convicted of certain offences (s. 13 of the Criminal Code). This is a matter of principle rightly belonging to the General Part of the Criminal Code. This issue of the minimum age for attribution of guilt cannot be resolved in isolation from other matters of the General Part such as duress, self-defence, and sentencing to name but a few. The real issue is defining a comprehensive concept of a crime which must be reflected in the General Part provisions of the Criminal Code or, as a minimum, reflected in the structure of the General Part.
1998, the National Criminal Justice Section of the Canadian Bar presented
to the Hon. McLellan, their "Submission on Reforming Criminal Code Defences"
(a brief on the federal consultation paper on self-defence, defence of
property and provocation). In their submission, the National Criminal
Justice Section severely criticized the piecemeal approach to law
reform of the General Part:
"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."
For your information, I have started a web page, "Chronology - Towards a Modern General Part of a New Canadian Criminal Code?" at "chronologie_.htm". I have posted our correspondence there. I hope that this chronology and my other web pages on General Part matters will encourage research and promote the importance of the General Part.
I hope to correspond with you again in the near future.
cc: The Honourable A. Anne McLellan
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Mr. Morris Rosenberg
Department of Justice Canada
Mr. John D.V. Hoyles
Canadian Bar Association