François Lareau, LL.M.
55-890 Cahill Dr. W.
Ottawa, ON, K1V 9A4
Telephone: (613) 521-3689
Fax: (613) 521-4522
Ottawa, 11 November 1998
The Honourable Lois M. Moorcroft
Minister of Justice
Government of Yukon, Canada
Box 2703, Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2C6
Subject: Reform of the General Part of the Criminal Code
Thank you very much for your letter of 23 October 1998.
It is with much regret that I must conclude that your government has not developed a policy on the reform of the General Part of the Criminal Code, the first step in a modern Criminal Code.
You seem content as Minister of Justice to assume a passive role. With respect to the federal initiative in respect to self-defence, defence of property and provocation, I am afraid that experience has clearly indicated that this piecemeal approach will be stillborn or result in cosmetic changes. The General Part is like a house, you cannot have a wall twelve feet high and the others fifteen!
In my letter of 14 August 1998, I had written: "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." Could I obtain an answer? Thank you.
like to finish with two points. I believe that the citizens of the
Yukon need a Criminal Code of substantive law (I am not talking
about procedure or evidence) that is easy for them to understand.
This is not the case at the present time. The Criminal Code
is like the Income Tax Act. Every year, there are amendments
and amendments. However, as Attorney General you must understand
that the substantive law is not written for lawyers but for the general
population. Professor Fitzgerald has written:
"Who are the criminal code's intended readers? The people governed by it - the public as Bentham thought? Those who have to administer and explain it - the legal profession and the agencies of justice - as lawyers tend to think? Those surveying its logic, coherence, and systematization - jurists and legal scientists? Or since codes start life as bills, those who are asked to enact it - the legislators? Or, finally, some combination of the above?
Surely Bentham was right. A country's law belongs not to its nation's judges, its lawyers, or its politicians but to all its inhabitants and citizens. The latter are surely the prime addressees of codes, statutes, and other legislation. This conclusion follows from the basic values and concepts of the common law itself." ... ["Codes and Codifications: Interpretation, Structure, and Arrangement of Codes", (1990) 2 Criminal Law Forum127-143 at 129-130].
I can not understand the Minister of Justice Canada in view of the fact
that in 1994, the Canadian Bar Association, representing more than 37,000
jurists across Canada, wrote in their 1994 Submission to
the Minister of Justice on the Proposals to Amend the Criminal Code (General
"The Canadian Bar Association reiterates its strong commitment to achieving recodification of the General Part of the Criminal Code. In our view this must be a top priority for law reform efforts. All of the necessary background work has been carried out. The only step remaining is to draft legislation which is consistent with the well laid out principles of recodification: clarity, rationality and comprehensiveness." [p. 12]
I hope that your natural leadership will prevail and that you will ask for the formulation of a policy on this matter. Thank you.