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Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Legal and Constitutional Affairs

Issue 12 - Fifth Report of the Committee

Thursday, June 12, 2003

The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs has the honour to present its


Your Committee, to which was referred the motion of the Honourable Senator Carstairs, P.C., dated June 10, 2003 and the Message from the House of Commons dated June 6, 2003, relating to certain amendments to Bill C-10B, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals), passed by the Senate on May 15, 2003, has, in obedience to its Orders of Reference dated June 10, 2003 and June 11, 2003 respectively, examined the said motion and Message and now reports as follows:


Your Committee recommends that a Message be sent to the House of Commons to acquaint that House that, with respect to its Message to the Senate dated June 6, 2003 regarding Bill C-10B:

(i) the Senate notes that the House of Commons has agreed with the amendments numbered 1 and 5;

(ii) the Senate does insist on its amendment numbered 2;

(iii) in lieu of the amendment numbered 3 with which the House of Commons has disagreed, the Senate adopts the following amendment and requests that it be concurred in by the House of Commons:

3. Page 3, clause 2: Add after line 10 the following:

"(3) No person shall be convicted of an offence under paragraph (1)(a) if the pain, suffering, injury or death is caused in the course of traditional hunting, trapping or fishing practices carried out by a person who is one of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada in the area in which the Aboriginal person has harvesting rights under or by virtue of existing aboriginal or treaty rights within the meaning of section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and any pain, suffering or injury caused is no more than is reasonably necessary in the carrying out of those traditional practices."; and

(iv) with respect to the amendment numbered 4, the Senate accepts in part the wording proposed by the House of Commons, but adopts the following amendment and requests that it be concurred in by the House of Commons:

4. Page 4, clause 2: Replace lines 22 to 24 with the following:

"182.5 For greater certainty, the defences set out in subsection 429(2) apply in respect of proceedings for an offence under this Part.".


Your Committee carefully considered the message sent by the House of Commons on the subject of Bill C-10B. The Committee held meetings on the arguments contained in the message as well the debates that took place in the House of Commons on the Senate amendments. The Committee heard from Mr. Paul Macklin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, in order to fully assess the rationale for the decision of the House of Commons on the Senate amendments to Bill C-10B. It was clear from this latter meeting that there is a fair amount of agreement in both Houses on the need for cruelty to animals legislation that recognizes reasonable and generally accepted practices involving animals (e.g. scientific research conducted in accordance with generally accepted standards, traditional hunting and fishing practices of Aboriginal peoples, reasonable and generally accepted practices of animal management, husbandry or slaughter). Where the Houses differ, however, is on the methodology that should be adopted to ensure the legal recognition of such practices.

Therefore, in a spirit of cooperation and in order to ensure swift passage of Bill C-10B, your Committee appreciates the agreement of the House of Commons on amendments 1 and 5 and it accepts, with modification, amendment 4. With respect to amendment 2, your Committee has insisted on its original amendment because it remains convinced that this amendment offers better protection to individuals engaged in generally accepted practices involving animals, as referred to above. The Committee also remains convinced as to the merits of amendment number 3 dealing with Aboriginal peoples. However the Committee did make a change to the amendment in order to address concerns raised in the House of Commons that the Senate amendment as originally proposed would allow an Aboriginal person from one geographic region to go to any area where Aboriginal peoples have rights and make a claim under the proposed provision.

Respectfully submitted,



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