Show Your Support for Wynn's Law (Bill S-217)

Date: June 6, 2017

Branch: 

Our colleagues with the Alberta Federation of Police Officers are making a last-ditch effort to save Bill S-217, Wynn's Law, from being defeated by the Liberal government.

We're asking members across Ontario to reach out to their MPs, from all parties, to express your support, as a constituent, for this important legislation, which will force Crown Prosecutors to disclose an accused's criminal history during bail hearings.

At the bottom of this message, you can see the text of a model letter that you can email to your MP. You can find the contact information for your particular Member of Parliament here:


https://lop.parl.ca/ParlInfo/Compilations/HouseOfCommons/MemberByPostalCode.aspx


At that link, you'll be able to find who your specific MP is, and their email address. It's important to be polite, but passionate when contacting your MPs.

Please also share this with your friends and family members, colleagues (both inside law enforcement, and out). This is common-sense legislation that should be supported by all Parliamentarians, and we need your help to let them know this has the support of civilian and sworn police personnel from across Canada.

President Jamieson, on behalf of the Board of Directors and all members of the OPP Association, will be sending this letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould.

We invite you to join us in advocating for the passage of this legislation.

 

Yours truly,


President Rob Jamieson & the Board of Directors
Ontario Provincial Police Association


Text for Letter to MP - Note - If copying this text from a mobile device, please ensure that you select all the text shown below.

When pasting the text into an email, right-click on the target page and select "paste as plain text."

‚ÄčThe text of this letter can also be downloaded from the file at the bottom of this page.

<Insert Date>
 
 
Dear <Insert MP>,
 
I am writing today to express my strong support for Bill S-217, also known as Wynn’s Law, which was introduced in the Senate by Senator Bob Runciman, and was sponsored in the House of Commons by Mr. Michael Cooper, Member of Parliament for the riding of St. Albert – Edmonton. As you may know, Bill S-217 was passed unanimously by the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, and was passed by a wide margin in the Senate of Canada, with strong multi-partisan support from Liberal, Conservative and Independent Senators.
 
On January 17, 2015, Constable David Wynn and his partner, Auxiliary Constable Derek Bond, of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were shot, on duty, outside of a St. Albert (AB) casino. Tragically, on January 21, 2015, Constable Wynn succumbed to his injuries, having never regained consciousness. The shooter, Shawn Rehn, had a lengthy criminal history, as detailed in a report prepared for the Government of Alberta in response to this incident:
 
“On January 17, 2015, Rehn had a total of 29 Criminal Code charges outstanding before the courts. These charges stemmed from allegations arising on a number of different dates, the first of which occurred in October 2013, when Rehn was charged with committing fraud against his bank. At the time of the alleged bank fraud, Rehn was bound by bail conditions that had been put in place as the result of pre-existing criminal charges.”
 
Rehn had an extensive history of failing to appear in court and habitually breached court orders, possessing a criminal record with 55 convictions. He had been previously sentenced, twice to serve time in federal penitentiaries.
 
On September 3, 2014, Mr. Rehn had been arrested and was facing charges that included possession of a prohibited weapon when he received bail ($4,500) the following day. During that bail hearing, not a single mention was made of his extensive criminal history, much of which could have clearly qualified him for detention in custody.
 
Bill S-217, which was introduced by Ontario Senator Bob Runciman, seeks to address this glaring oversight with two simple, common-sense changes to the Criminal Code:
 
• Adding two new grounds under which an offender can be detained in custody, specifically, when the accused has failed to appear in court in the past, and the fact that the accused has previously been convicted of a criminal offence or has been charged with and is awaiting trial for another criminal offence; and
• Replacing the word “may” with “shall”, to require prosecutors to introduce evidence of the accused’s criminal record, or failure to obey court orders in the past, or other criminal charges for which an offender may be awaiting trial.
 
I also want to highlight that nothing within Bill S-217 eliminates or even infringes on judicial discretion. While I sincerely hope that judges will strongly consider the additional information that will be presented during bail hearings, the ultimate decision still remains with them, as it always should, allowing them to decide how to ultimately weigh the evidence.
 
Unfortunately, on May 9, 2017, members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights adopted a report recommending that Parliament not proceed further with Bill S-217, claiming that asking Crown Prosecutors to introduce an accused’s criminal history will cause increase delays in the bail system.
 
While I am entirely sympathetic to the concerns of delays in the justice system, I can say, unequivocally, that any potential delays caused by this Bill are justified, particularly considering criminal history is already disclosed in the overwhelming majority of bail hearings. This legislation will simply close a loophole that has allowed a few habitual offenders to slip thru the cracks. I also believe it’s important to note that while concerns have been raised about the wording of the legislation inadvertently raising the burden of proof during bail hearings, in the majority of cases “proving” the criminal history is as simple as producing a paper record, which is easily (and quickly) obtained by Crown Prosecutors.
 
I am asking you today, as my Member of Parliament, to reconsider Bill S-217, to work across party lines to pass this important legislation, which will take a significant step towards protecting our communities, a goal that all Parliamentarians, and Canadians can share.
 
As a constituent, I will be watching with interest as Bill S-217 is considered, and I look forward to receiving a response regarding your own support for this Bill.
 
Thank you for taking the time to consider this request.
 
Regards,
 
 
<Insert Name>
<Insert Address>

 

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