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Local MP opposes repeal of mandatory minimum penalties

The federal government is looking to repeal mandatory minimum sentencing for a number of offences, including several drug and firearms-related offences.

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison said he is opposed to the changes Bill C-5 would bring into the Canadian Legal system.

“I can’t figure out how the government would think this would start to reduce crime,” said Morrison. “We need to have a penalty that reflects what they’ve done. I think reducing penalties for gangs and organized crime using illegal guns just won’t have an impact.”

According to Stats Canada, mandatory minimum penalties for firearm violations were first introduced to Canadian law in 1995. A number of offences under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act have had MMPs added to them since 2005.

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Bill C-5 proposes to repeal mandatory minimum penalties for 14 violations in the Criminal Code, and all six under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

Morrison said he will be making sure he asks plenty of questions about the proposed bill.

“I’ll be involved on the public safety committee on bringing in witnesses to show that there’s no evidence-based approach here,” said Morrison. “Instead of spending billions of dollars buying back legal guns, that money should be spent towards enforcement and education.”

He feels the focus should be on Canada’s border, to prevent guns from being smuggled into the country, as well as crime prevention education.

The following offences will have their mandatory minimum penalties removed under the proposed Bill C-5:

  • Criminal Code:
    • Using a firearm or imitation firearm during a crime.
    • Possession of firearm or weapon knowing its possession is unauthorized.
    • Possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition.
    • Possession of weapon obtained by commission of offence.
    • Weapons trafficking (not including firearms and ammunition).
    • Possession for purpose of weapons trafficking (excluding firearms and ammunition).
    • Importing or exporting knowing it is unauthorized.
    • Selling of tobacco products and raw leaf tobacco.
  • Controlled Drugs and Substances Act:
    • Trafficking or possession for the purpose of trafficking (two separate offences).
    • Importing and exporting or possession for the purpose of exporting (two separate offences).
    • Production of substance Schedule I or II (two offence)

MMPs would remain in place for a number of other offences under the Criminal Code, including:

    • Weapons trafficking.
    • Possession for the purpose of weapons trafficking.
    • Making automatic firearms.
    • Importing or exporting knowing it is unauthorized.
    • Causing death by criminal negligence, use of firearm.
    • Manslaughter, use of a firearm.
    • Attempted murder, use of a firearm.
    • Discharging firearm with intent.
    • Use of a firearm for sexual assault.
    • Use of a firearm for aggravated sexual assault.
    • Use of a firearm for kidnapping.
    • Use of a firearm for taking hostages.
    • Robbery with a firearm.
    • Extortion with a firearm
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