Senator Bob Runciman - Ontario - Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes
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RUNCIMAN CALLS OUT MINISTER FOR SHAMEFUL DISPLAY

OTTAWA, December 6, 2016 – Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould is playing partisan politics with a bill that would close a loophole in the bail process that led to the murder of a police officer, Senator Bob Runciman said today.

Wilson-Raybould appeared in the Senate for Question Period, where Runciman grilled her on why the Liberal government has announced it will not support Bill S-217, Runciman’s bill that would ensure justices presiding at bail hearings are told about the accused’s criminal record.

“The minister did not answer my question,” Runciman said. “She said she ‘empathizes with the pain that has been caused in this case’, and she talked a lot about the need to consult and collaborate with the provinces, but she gave no good reason why she won’t let this bill move forward, at least to be studied by a House of Commons committee.”

“I think I know why she won’t let this bill be studied at committee – because she knows her phony arguments won’t stand up under scrutiny. She’s playing partisan politics, plain and simple,” he said. “This bill passed unanimously in the Senate committee and it passed overwhelmingly in the Senate chamber, with the support of many Liberals.”

The bill was introduced earlier this year in response to the murder of RCMP Constable David Wynn in Alberta in January 2015 by career criminal Shawn Rehn, who had been released on bail the previous fall and then failed to appear in court. It was never mentioned at his bail hearing that Rehn had more than 50 criminal convictions, some involving violence, and others for ignoring court orders and failing to appear in court.

Constable Wynn left behind a wife, Shelly, and three young boys.

Although evidence of previous charges and a criminal record is usually introduced at bail hearings, Bill S-217 would require it.

“This evidence is readily available. It is almost always introduced in courtrooms across this country right now, so requiring it would place no great burden on prosecutors, but it would make sure the justice has the information he or she needs to make an informed decision,” Runciman said.

For more information, please contact:

Barry Raison, Director of Parliamentary Affairs, Office of Senator Bob Runciman

(613) 943-4020 (office) or by e-mail at barry.raison@sen.parl.gc.ca.

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