IN THE HOUSE – ‘The laws on bail clearly are not working’

MP Frank Caputo. (Image: House of Commons)

Excerpt from Question Period on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023 in which Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Frank Caputo challenges the government on bail laws:

DAVID LAMETTI, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, Canadians deserve to feel safe and they deserve to be safe.

The laws on bail are clear. If somebody poses a threat to public safety, he or she should not be out on bail. I have undertaken with the provinces and territories to look at what we can do at the federal level with respect to bail. Our priority remains keeping Canadians safe. We will move with the provinces together on not just changing the law but also administering the bail system in a better way.

FRANK CAPUTO, Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo (Conservative)

Mr. Speaker, the laws on bail are clear? I think the minister meant to say that the laws on bail clearly are not working.

While the minister was in the classroom, I was in the courtroom running bail hearings. I have looked victims in the eye who were victimized by people who were on bail. The reality is that violent crime is up 32%. Thugs and gangsters with guns are running wild on our streets.

When will the minister, after eight years of Liberal inaction, end catch-and-release?

DAVID LAMETTI, Minister of Justice and Attorney General

Mr. Speaker, I acknowledge the hon. member’s previous service, but I would suggest he go back to the classroom.

As the hon. member will know, what Bill—

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!


Order, please. I am not sure how much sugar was in everyone’s lunch today, but I think there was an overdose. I want everybody to take a deep breath and calm down.

The hon. minister, please continue.


Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member will surely know from his experience, what Bill C-75 did was codify Supreme Court of Canada jurisprudence and it tightened bail provisions by adding a reverse onus for intimate partner violence. There was already a reverse onus on prohibited weapons.

Notwithstanding that, we are willing to work with the provinces to see if there are additional measures we can take. Certainly, we will help the provinces in the administration of the bail—


The hon. member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.

FRANK CAPUTO, Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo (Conservative)

Mr. Speaker, I do not know that I can imagine a comment more out of touch than that which the Liberal minister just said. I will remind the minister that, like him, I also taught at a law school. Unlike him, I do not have to go back to school to see people on the streets who are victimized, to see the statistics of gangland homicides and to see police officers on our streets being killed by people who are on bail.

Will the minister stay out of touch or will he end the catch-and-release to keep victims safe after eight years of failed Liberal policies?

MARK HOLLAND, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition is yelling “eight, nine, 10, you are out” as if this is a sporting event. There is not a person in the chamber who has not been touched by violence. There is not a person in the chamber who does not care about the safety of our communities. There is not a person in the country who does not want to make us be successful in ensuring that every Canadian is safe and not victimized.

The idea that anybody in the chamber, let alone anybody in this government, does not care about victims is a deeply offensive concept and is totally unhelpful to the debate at hand.


About Mel Rothenburger (9489 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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