Michael Cooper, MP for St. Albert-Edmonton, said Tuesday it’s unlikely Bill S-217 will become law after a standing committee recommended the House of Commons not proceed.
The bill, named after fallen St. Albert Const. David Wynn, would alter the wording of the Criminal Code to make it mandatory for a prosecutor to disclose an offender’s criminal history during a bail application.
Wynn’s Law passed second reading 154 to 128 in the House of Commons in March and was sent to committee of the House before being considered for a third and final reading.
Cooper sponsored the bill in the House of Commons after it was introduced last year in the Senate by Sen. Bob Runciman.
Cooper said he was disappointed that “the Liberal-dominated Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights voted Tuesday afternoon to recommend that the House of Commons not proceed with Bill S-271.”
In a news release, he said the Liberal government has opposed Wynn’s Law “all along,” claiming it will cause delay.
“Frankly, it didn’t make sense then and it doesn’t make sense now,” Cooper said.
“After all, presenting the criminal history of bail applicants at bail hearings is something that is almost always done. Making sure that it is always done cannot reasonably result in a backlog in the courts.”
In March, Edmonton MP Amarjeet Sohi explained why he voted against the bill. He said the government agrees with the objectives of Wynn’s Law but wants to see parole background checks handled as part of a comprehensive review of the justice system.
“We share the objective, we share the same goal. I think where we differ is the pathway forward,” Sohi said.
“We want to strengthen the parole system… We want to do a comprehensive review to deal with… many other areas that need to be strengthened in order to hold those who break the law accountable.”
Cooper said Tuesday the Liberals’ prioritized “so-called efficiency” over ensuring the applicant’s criminal history is before the courts.
“Now that the Liberal-dominated committee has voted to not proceed with Wynn’s Law, it is unlikely that Wynn’s Law will pass in this parliament,” Cooper said.
“While I am disappointed, I am going to keep fighting for Wynn’s Law because it is the right thing to do.”
The bill will return to the House of Commons for debate and a vote on the committee’s recommendation not to proceed.
Wynn was shot and killed at the Apex Casino in St. Albert in January 2015. He had been attempting to arrest a man wanted on warrants.
That individual, Shawn Rehn, had been out on bail despite having 30 outstanding charges and a lengthy criminal record. It was later discovered those previous offences had not been mentioned during his bail hearing.
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