Wynn’s Law undergoes final debate in the House of Commons

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Liberals are still in opposition of the bill

Wynn’s Law went through the second and final debate in the House of Commons this week.

On Wednesday night, members of Parliament debated bill S-217, known as Wynn’s Law, for a second time.

So far the bill has garnered support from the Conservative side of the aisle but has yet to win over the Liberal government.

“I’m continuing to work hard to try to convince as many Liberal MPs as possible to do the right thing so we can get this much-needed legislation passed,” St. Albert MP Michael Cooper said.

Cooper says he has heard from a few Liberal MPs who plan to support the bill but he doesn’t know exactly how many he has won over.

“The Liberal whip will undoubtedly come down hard on a lot of Liberal MPs to try to prevent them from doing the right thing,” Cooper said.

The bill proposes an amendment to the Criminal Code that would require the criminal history of the accused be presented at a bail hearing. Currently it is only optional to disclose the criminal history on a bail application. The wording in the Criminal Code would be changed so prosecutors would be required to provide that information to a judge.

The law was named after St. Albert’s Const. David Wynn who was killed by Shawn Rehn outside of the Apex Casino in January 2015. Rehn had a lengthy criminal history and was out on bail despite having 68 prior convictions. His history was never mentioned during his bail hearing.

The Liberals have expressed concern over the law, stating it could place an undue burden on the legal system and cause delays.

Conservative MP Glen Motz from Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner stood in the House on Wednesday and spoke in favour of the bill. Motz, the former Medicine Hat police chief with 35 years of police experience, said that the bill will not bog down the bail system.

“In my experience, these records are readily available to police through various national, provincial, and local information management systems,” Motz said.

“Apparently unknown by the Liberal government, these systems that the justice system and law enforcement agencies rely upon are current and up-to-date, as lives depend on them. Anything otherwise would be irresponsible.”

Outside of the House of Commons the bill has been picking up some support. Former Alberta minister of justice and solicitor general Jonathan Denis has expressed his support for the bill along with John Muise, director of public safety for victim advocacy organization Abuse Hurts.

So far the bill has already passed in the Senate with support from both Conservative and Liberal senators.

An online petition, started by Cooper to support the bill, has more than 5,000 signatures from across Canada.

Members of Parliament will vote on Wynn’s Law on March 8.

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Jennifer Henderson

Jennifer Henderson joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2016. She writes about municipal, provincial and federal politics; court and crime; general news and features.