Leeds-Grenville MP Gord Brown's private member's bill on knife crimes is back on the books - and it has kept its name.
The Conservative MP on
Wednesday reintroduced his bill, which calls for mandatory minimum
sentences for manslaughters committed with a concealed weapon.
The second-term MP also got the
House of Commons's unanimous consent to let the bill keep the number
that was assigned to it in the last Parliament, C-393, because that is
how the bill has come to be known to people across Canada, he said.
Brown said earlier this year he
would reintroduce the bill, which received first reading in 2005 but
died on the order paper when the former Liberal government fell in a
Private member's bills rarely become law, but Brown said he was encouraged by Justice Minister Vic Toews to reintroduce it.
"Getting tough on crime is one
of the things that I believe is important to the people of Leeds and
Grenville," Brown said Thursday in a telephone interview from
In addition to imposing a
minimum five-year sentence for manslaughter in the stabbing death of an
unarmed person, Brown's bill would give victims' families a greater
voice in the parole hearing process and in determining pre-sentence
Brown said in a prepared statement the measure is in response to a seeming rise in the number of knife crimes in Canada.
He cited figures from
Statistics Canada, from 2000 through 2004, which show there were 840
"shooting homicides" in that period and 849 "stabbing homicides."
At the same time, he added, sentences for assaults with knives have been "minimal."
As in the past, Brown referred to his inspiration for the bill, Andrew Moffitt, of Brockville, who was stabbed to death in 1998.
Moffitt's killer, Henry
Danninger, was sentenced to five years for manslaughter in connection
with the crime. He was released from prison early, despite the pleas,
at his parole hearing, of Moffitt's parents, Brockville residents
Rodney and Paulette Moffitt.
One of the components of
Brown's original bill, dealing with conditional release, is now the
subject of a separate government bill, said Brown, adding the other two
components remain in his bill.
Brown is heartened by the fact
he did better this time in a random draw among MPs which determines the
order in which their private member's bills will be heard.
He is now roughly 100th in
line, compared to over 200th the last time, said Brown. Also, some of
the people ahead of him have already had their business dealt with,
while others are not presenting bills.
Still, he wouldn't speculate on a timeline for Bill C-393.
"I would hope by the spring at the latest."
Nor would Brown speculate on
the prospect of the minority Conservative government facing a
confidence vote by then, given that the Opposition Liberals are
choosing a new leader in early December.
Brown said he has received
support for his measure from MPs of other parties, adding he has good
working relations with people across the floor.
Published in Section A, page
3 in the Friday, October 20, 2006 edition of the Brockville Recorder & Times.
Posted 4:33:10 PM Friday, October 20, 2006.