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UPDATE: the full transcript of last night's debate can now be read here ... scroll down to Orders of the Day / Safe Streets and Communities Bill.
As warranted I will offer remarks tonight on Bill C-10 to keep interested Canadians up to date on the final stage of debate.
5:20pm: The standing vote on the time allocation motion to limit debate of the report and third reading to 6 hours.
Yeas: 50 Nays: 37
Conservative Senator Nolin voted against the motion. That's the first time I have ever seen a Conservative vote against his party.
6:30pm: Senator Cowan (NS) concluded his speech strongly ... "Our motto should be: Do no harm. Because Bill C-10 will harm Canadians, I cannot vote in favour of it."
Senator Runciman (ON) tried to skewer him during questions ... "Didn't former Liberal gov'ts impose minimum sentences?". Weak, a very weak tactic ... the old schoolyard defence ('other kids do it') just doesn't cut it.
7:25pm: Senator Fraser (QC), who was credited by Senator Wallace for her knowledge and leadership on handling the witnesses in committee, says many provisions of Bill C-10 are, quite simply, mean and nasty. The worst example, she says, is lifting publication bans on children as young as 12 years old.
She has voted with portions of this bill in the past, and would love to vote freely this time; however cruel aspects, such as the above, far outweigh the benefits of this legislation.
She also refutes some myths perpetrated by the gov't. Bill C-10 WILL apply to "small fry" as well as to organized crime. It WILL cost more. It WILL extend sentencing discretion ... albeit to cops and prosecutors instead of to judges. And she goes on ... the cruelest myth of all, Senator Fraser says, is the government's promise to help victims. Witnesses testified that this will not happen because we do not have the resources to implement the bill.
7:30pm: Senator LeBretton (ON) is now addressing the bill. After praising Senator Boisveneue, she continues to say that because the Cons have a majority in the HofC; therefore Canadians agree with them.
She goes on to say that the bill has been criticized because it is hard to understand…I hardly think that is the problem, it is all too easy to understand! The Leader of the Government in the Senate then turns her attention to a repetition of the provisions which even the Liberals are not disputing.
8:15pm: Senator Joyal (QC) claims that five parts of Bill C-10 are unconstitutional. The first is mandatory minimum sentences (MMS). Apparently the courts have already struck down MMS in previous Criminal Code amendments. He concludes that we should not proceed without providing for a safety valve allowing judges to opt out of a MMS.
The second area is that of sentencing aboriginal peoples. The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has ruled that they deserve special consideration. Bill C-10 will eliminate or severely restrict application of this principle.
Third, youth justice ... the SCC has said young people can have diminished capacity because of age and must therefore be dealt with separately from adults.
Fourth, the Federal Court has struck down a Con Minister's refusal to bring prisoners home 13 times. So that piece of the bill is vulnerable.
Finally, Senator Joyal raises a technical point regarding compensation for victims of terrorism.
8:35pm: And now we have Senator Carignan (QC). He claims that Quebecers support safety and protection against crime and that because the Cons won more seats in the Commons, they are acting for most Canadians.
He dwells on allegations that the Cons have been accused of relying on ideology rather than evidence. Now he is listing all the Liberals in the House of Commons who voted in favour of MMS. He seems to want to prove that it's a Liberal idea ... not a particularly helpful line of debate, to my mind.
9:05pm: Senator Tkachuk (SK) speaks to the victims of terrorism portion of Bill C-10. He's been trying to get this bill passed for seven years.
9:35pm: Senator Jaffer (BC) concludes her remarks by saying. "It takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to keep a child safe and it takes a country to protect all its citizens."
9:45pm: Senator Nolin (QC) addresses Part 2 of the bill dealing with Controlled Drugs and Substances.
The UN has said that the drug trade around the world is a $450 billion industry. Profits are being used to support human trafficking and terrorist activities, but none of the profiteers' activities are regulated in any way. And the problem is getting worse as drug cartels use violence to maintain their hold on the lucrative trade.
Tougher drug laws will not succeed in reducing the crime and violence associated with their illegal status.
Senator Nolin says he had a number of amendments but he has been prevented from putting them forward by the procedures enforced by the motion to curtail debate. He will, therefore, vote against the whole bill.
10:15pm: Senator Campbell (BC) is a member of Stop the Violence BC ... he's against the drug parts of the bill.
10:45pm: Sen Eggleton (ON) criticizes C-10 because of the disproportionate effect this bill will have on some of the most vulnerable people in our society. He says that judicial discretion would accommodate appropriate circumstances in each individual case.
12:00am: Amidst sirens in downtown Ottawa and the Peace Tower striking midnight, the Senate passes Bill C-10 -- 48 in favour, 37 opposed. Conservative Senator Nolin did as promised and broke party ranks.
Posted On Mar 02 11:15AM
As a further to the comment by Laurence. I also would like to know where the rest of the Senators were. I guess they don't care about their country, only the paycheque and the perks. They could at least vote by proxy, could they not? Maybe posting a list of those who were absent might embarass them into taking some sort of action.
The popularity of Canada has just dropped a few points in the eyes of the world. Pretty soon Harper will have us as detested as the Americans are right now. George W. Bush will be known as the worst President in U.S. history. and Harper will be his Canadian equivalent.
Posted On Mar 02 11:15AM
A sad and shameful day for Canada. Thank you Senator McCoy for doing this. It's still somewhat mind boggling that the cons really really don't care about facts.
Posted On Mar 02 08:34AM
I have worked for the Canadian Forces and Justice Canada. I consider myself a law abiding citizen. I have no criminal record. I have no desire to harm another human being. I smoke pot. Plain and simple. I do not consider myself a criminal for smoking something that has has less health risk then most tabacco products. Should I be put in jail when my only crime is sitting in my house and smoking something that many say is harmful? Is it right to send someone who fought for your freedom to jail simply because they have a plant in their possession? I'm growing a plant. Arrest me. How is it logical to take someone who contributes to society and lock them up simply because they are smoking something you disagree with? That's like throwing someone in jail because you don't agree with who they slept with last night. It should be none of your damn business. If I choose to unwind after a long stressful day at my office with a joint what is wrong with that? I don't drink. I don't like the feeling of hangovers the next day. So I'm a criminal because I don't like the acceptable ways of "getting out of my mind".
Don't get me wrong, in my younger years I experimented with other illegal drugs but I didn't enjoy them. Pot however is mild. If someone can provide an example of someone dieing from an overdose on POT and POT alone I will stop smoking. So far I have never found a case. So tell me why Senator is tabacco legal when according to the package a small city dies each year from use but a plant (which I have still yet to locate a case of a human dieing from use) is illegal.
If the goverment believes in this bill so much then arrest me please because I will not stop smoking.
Posted On Mar 02 07:51AM
I followed you on twitter last night. Thanks for all of the updates. I have been trying to find the full transcript, I haven't been able to. ???
I agree with Mike that you embody the essence of what the Senate and a Senator should be. Before last night, I did not have any faith in senator, now, I do. Even after the mockery made by the Conservatives. Some stood out. Like you and Senator Nolin who stood against his party. Please pass my heartfelt thanks and my utmost respect to Senator Nolin.
I have to wonder where were the other senators out of the 105? only 85 were presents, where were the other 20 for such an important debate and such an important vote???
Once again my dear, you have gained the respect and admiration of a quebecer and when I emailed all of the senators (several times), I thought you were in the "Yays" camp as a Progressive-conservative... but I have been happily surprised.
I really hope this Bill C-10 doesn't get signed into law but sadly, I have lost hope long time ago into Harper's government. What would it take? They were elected twice? what the heck?We need to protest, we need to let our voices be heard.
Posted On Mar 02 05:48AM
Thank you Senator McCoy for what you do. You embody the essence of what the Senate should be. I also salute the integrity of Senator Nolin.
Unfortunately, once again, your peers have proven that this institution is a mockery of the democratic process.
Posted On Mar 01 10:57PM
Please pass on my heartfelt congratulations to Senator Nolin for have the backbone to break party ranks and vote against the bill.
Posted On Mar 01 10:51PM
oh yes, thanks very much Senator McCoy (hugs)
Posted On Mar 01 10:50PM
My letter to the Governor General goes in the mail tomorrow. This government cannot continue to assume that Canadians support him any longer. Sad day for all of us.
Posted On Mar 01 10:50PM
Not that I am promoting violence, but maybe what is needed is massive public outcry and unrest. The convicts.....sorry Conservatives have enough political clout to have it signed into law, They don't pay attention to petitions or emails. Go to your MPs office in your riding and let them know that you are outraged. If they want your vote they will listen as long as there are enough voices.
Posted On Mar 01 10:22PM
I just lost hope in our political system. Just have to hope this doesn't get signed into law.
Posted On Mar 01 10:17PM
BTW Thanks for the opportunity to follow along, Senator McCoy. I've enjoyed looking through your site as well.
Posted On Mar 01 10:12PM
Shame on each and every Senator who sold Canadians out.
Posted On Mar 01 10:01PM
Thank you so much for keeping us updated. Really hope this doesn't pass since it's the start of the route the US has already taken into bankrupcy and a war against themselves for the profits of a few componies (private prisons).
Posted On Mar 01 09:49PM
Posted On Mar 01 09:29PM
Hi there pfft. The full transcript will be available tomorrow morning on www.parl.gc.ca
Posted On Mar 01 09:14PM
I realize Senator McCoy is just giving us highlights but it appears as if the Conservatives have individual talking points / justifcations to go along with the party mantra "We have the HoC majority so "na-na na-na boo-boo" to the rest of you," appearing to be well rehearsed puppets of little substance. Will we be able to see an entire transcript at some point?
Posted On Mar 01 08:55PM
It's like playong hockey when you are the only one on your team. You are not going to win. Between the loaded Senate and the bought and paid for GG, we don't have a hope.
Posted On Mar 01 08:55PM
I was just reviewing Senator LeBretton's comments from 7:30. I beg to differ. The fact that the Cons have a majority in the HOC is because they won the most seats. That fact does not mean that most Canadians agree with them. She needs to go back and review the POPULAR VOTE! I would argue that most Canadians do not agree with the Cons!
Posted On Mar 01 08:39PM
I really don't think the senate or the harper government should be passing any bills until the alleged election fraud debacle is cleared up. The GG should not be giving royal assent because the harper government may not be legitimate. However, the GG is harper's man--I don't see him standing up for democracy.
Posted On Mar 01 08:14PM
It sounds like the next step will be Jackboots for the Police, and swastikas for badges. I am seriously considering leaving this country, but I want to stay and fight for what is right. If anybody wants to start a protest movement, you better do it before the Cons pass a law making that illegal. This is why those that remember the attempt for a " Triple E Senate" are wishing that it had come true. God help us all!
Posted On Mar 01 06:57PM
How sad that the Conservative Senators are more attached to their party membership cards than doing what is right for Canadians. Their arguments are weak and without substance. The conservative party have a majority of seats with a minority of votes. How wrong is that.
Posted On Mar 01 04:55PM
We need any funding to go toward prevention not more jails... where do they have their heads stuck?
Posted On Mar 01 04:40PM
The irony, Jan: the conservatives have spent the last few years cutting the rehab programs that actually work.
Posted On Mar 01 04:31PM
Only 1 Conservative? - how truly sad for our country - and the mandatory minimum sentence is the one that will send more of our children to jail instead of getting them the help they need. I've heard the talk about how they need to stay in longer to be 'rehabilitated'. I wonder how many of those people have ever spent any time in those jails?