The omnibus crime bill, the flag-ship of the conservative caucus for Canada’s 41st Parliament has come under-fire. No surprise to me since this is the type of thing that happens when you try to do too much. Ever need to do a huge load of laundry in a hurry and just cram all your whites, darks and lights into the washing machine without sorting them? Well think of that as your ‘Omnibus Laundry Load’, yes it gets them ALL clean quick but when you start sorting them out you start seeing your whites, while still probably white, aren’t shimmering , your lights seem to have a dullness to them and your darks are now a little dingy. Sure your clothes are cleaner but you won’t be wearing your white button up to church this Sunday.
The Omnibus crime bill kind of was established the same way, there were some light issues and some heavy dark issues that all needed to be addressed according to the Conservatives. So rather than sort their laundry they crammed it all into one load thinking it would be the quickest way to get it done.
I think it’s important also to understand first how federal laws are made in Canada. New laws are introduced as ‘bills’, a bill will receive it’s first reading when it is introduced to parliament, sticking with the same analogy this is essentially somebody saying ‘Hey, I’ve got some laundry! Let’s get this shit clean!‘ Once you’ve decided to do some laundry the next logical step is to decide what you want to wash, that’s the second reading, everyone debates the focus of the bill. It’s when you decide which clothes exactly you are going to wash, lets say were going to wash our brights. After the second reading there are a few processes that are enacted, firstly the committee stage, where a committee is organized to go through the bill line by line, hold hearings and get feedback for the bill, the committee can make appropriate suggestions for changes to the bill at this stage. This would be you grabbing all your reds, yellows, beiges and blues and separate them from the rest of your dirty clothes. Then comes the report stage where the findings of the committees are examined and more changes are proposed, this would be like finding a black sock in your pre-pared load of brights and shoving it back with the other laundry. Now we plop that load of laundry into the washing machine and hit go for the third reading! HOORAY! The laundry is done! Or is it? Nope, we still have to take it to the Senate where they review it, debate and vote some more before it’s turned into law. Think of it as the drier.
So with all the effort into sorting all the details of the bill in the house you would think it’s pretty fool proof to send something incomplete or unscrutinised up to the Senate. Well in regards to Bill C-10 it looks like the Senate has quite a few questions about certain things, one thing in particular that was pointed out by columnist Ethan Baron, of the mandatory minimum sentences he highlighted that “six-month mandatory minimum for growing as few as six marijuana plants for the purpose of trafficking is twice the minimum sentence for luring a child to watch pornography or exposing oneself on a playground“. Woah! Obviously I’m a bit of an advocate for the decriminalization of marijuana, but I could never endorse any type of child luring or sexual conduct with a child! The senate has picked up on these inconsistencies in regards to sentencing for crimes and has sent a letter to the PM’s office. The actual letter, by the time the press was able to obtain it, was heavily redacted so the actual queries of the Senate are unknown. However it’s probably safe to assume they’ve found a few black socks in their load of whites.
See the original story at the CBC here.