MP Gord Brown reintroduces private member knife crimes bill
MP Gord Brown reintroduces private member knife crimes bill

    MP Gord Brown reintroduces private member knife crimes bill


    Staff Writer

    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 non-confidence vote.

    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 Parliament Hill.

    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 custody.

    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.


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