Monday, May 28, 2018 – Conservative MP Michael Cooper (St. Albert-Edmonton), the Official Opposition Deputy Shadow Minister of Justice, and Bret McCann, the son of murder victims Lyle and Marie McCann, are frustrated that after more than a year the Liberal government has all but given up on passing Bill C-39. Bill C-39 will remove unconstitutional sections of the Criminal Code, including section 230.
In September 2016, an Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench judge convicted Travis Vader of two counts of second degree murder of Lyle and Marie McCann by applying section 230, which had been found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1990. As a result, the convictions had to be vacated causing enormous anguish to the McCann family who had waited six long years to see justice done.
Instead of immediately passing Bill C-39, the Liberals have included the contents of Bill C-39 in Bill C-75, a controversial omnibus Bill. This move will likely add months of delay in seeing the removal of unconstitutional sections from the Criminal Code.
MP Cooper made the following statement:
Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has repeatedly said that the passage of Bill C-39 is a priority for the Liberals. It has been more than 14 months since the Bill was introduced. Today, it remains exactly where it was 14 months ago – stuck at first reading. Despite the Minister’s words, the inaction of the Liberals speaks volumes to what a low priority Bill C-39 is for them.
Bill C-39 could have been passed unanimously on a voice vote the day it was introduced. Instead, the Liberals did nothing for more than a year. Now to make matters worse, they are rolling this straightforward legislation into Bill C-75, a complex and controversial 300-page omnibus bill, guaranteeing further delay. The incompetence and failure of the Liberals to manage their own legislative agenda is staggering.
Bret McCann made the following statement:
On September 15, 2016, Justice Denny Thomas convicted Travis Vader of 2nd degree murder for causing the death of my parents, Lyle & Marie McCann. But, it was soon determined that a section of the Criminal Code that had been deemed unconstitutional in 1990 had been used by Justice Thomas. This error was later corrected on October 31, and the verdict was reduced to manslaughter
The consternation and pain endured by my family because of this so-called zombie law was enormous.
While this seemed unbelievable at the time, I have since learned that there are many other sections of the Criminal Code which are obsolete and/or have been deemed unconstitutional. And, this growing problem has been ignored for decades.
On March 8, 2017, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould announced Bill C-39 (An Act to amend the Criminal Code (unconstitutional provisions)) that would address the issue.
On January 31, 2018, we received correspondence from the Minister, in which she reassured us that our tragic ordeal has been front and centre for her. She indicated that she would seek unanimous consent in the House of Commons to move Bill C-39 forward ‘expeditiously’.
As we write this in late May of 2018, we are frustrated that the Bill continues to be stuck at first reading over a year since its introduction. Indeed, the content of this bill has now been incorporated into the massive Bill C-75 which includes many highly controversial components – practically ensuring that these changes will not be handled ‘expeditiously’.
It is frustrating that our government cannot seem to address the zombie law issue, which should really be just a straight forward housekeeping item.
We hope that the required corrections will be passed through Parliament expeditiously – and future families will not need to suffer the heartache that an inaccurate Criminal Code can cause.
For further information, media may contact:
Office of Michael Cooper, M.P.
St. Albert- Edmonton