FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 25, 2018
Press Release: CIJA Proposals to Strengthen Anti-Terror Laws to be Adopted by Justice Committee
OTTAWA, ON — Yesterday, the House of Commons Justice Committee made changes to Bill C-75 that mirror suggestions CIJA made in testimony to the committee.
Bill C-75 aims to make significant alterations to Canada’s criminal justice system, in large part to reduce backlog in the courts. This includes changing a number of indictable offences to hybrid offences, allowing the Crown the option of prosecuting these crimes as lighter, summary offences.
As one of its core priorities, CIJA has been advocating for various crimes to be exempt from re-designation, arguing that advocating genocide and terror-related crimes should always be treated as serious, indictable offences. This includes crimes such as leaving Canada to commit terrorist acts or being a member of a banned terrorist entity.
Members of the Justice Committee agreed to changes that ensure terror-related crimes remain indictable offences, and signalled they will do the same for the crime of advocating genocide.
In response, Martin Sampson, Vice President, Communications and Marketing at the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), issued the following:
“We’re very pleased to see multi-party support for these common sense changes to Bill C-75, which we raised in testimony to the committee. The goal of making the justice system more efficient is an important one. But advocating genocide and engaging in terrorism are a small fraction of criminal cases in Canada, and allowing them to be prosecuted as lighter, summary offences would have virtually no impact on reducing court backlogs.
“While the Jewish community has a painful history of being targeted for these grave crimes, these offences also pose a broader threat to Canadian values and society. As a person charged with a summary offence is not usually held in custody but is given notice to appear in court, it is all the more vital that they remain indictable offences. This will ensure that such cases are always treated with the full weight of the law.”
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of the Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA.