OTTAWA -- A private member's
bill that would implement mandatory sentences for knife crimes was
introduced by Leeds-Grenville MP Gord Brown Tuesday.
Brown said Bill C-393, which
received first reading in the House, is a result of being approached by
parents of Andrew Moffitt during the 2004 election campaign.
Moffitt, a Brockville native,
was killed at age 23 by Henry Danninger, also a Brockville native.
Moffitt was stabbed at an Ottawa bar in December 1998.
Brown said the bill would give
a minimum five-year sentence for manslaughter of an unarmed person with
a concealed knife. It makes carrying a knife as a concealed weapon a
crime. The bill also restricts credit for pre-sentence custody and
reduces parole eligibility for those convicted of knife crimes.
"It's quite a long and complicated bill because it affects a number of sections of the criminal code," Brown said.
The local MP said he got a
better understanding of how deadly knife attacks are while doing
research for this bill. He said between 1999 and 2003, 787 people were
killed in knife attacks in Canada, compared to 823 killed by firearms
"We're getting to a point where
knife killings are almost equal to those for firearms," he said. "What
we're finding is there's really a proliferation of these kinds of
crimes, especially in Toronto and larger cities, where people are just
throwing a knife in their pocket and going out."
He said parliamentary legal staff have been working on the wording of the bill since February.
Brown, a member of the
Conservative Opposition, said if there is an election, which could
happen if the Liberals lose the budget vote scheduled for Thursday, the
bill could reintroduced in the next session of Parliament.
He said if the Conservatives form the government, he hopes it would come back as a government bill.
Published in Section A, page
3 in the Wednesday, May 18, 2005 edition of the Brockville Recorder & Times. Posted 4:31:56 PM Wednesday, May 18, 2005.