Joe Comartin, the NDP’s justice critic, isn’t just talking about making Parliament work – he’s actually doing it.
Later Monday, after Question Period, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson will make a motion indicating the government is poised to introduce a bill that will deal with mega-trials, court proceedings in which multiple accused are often released because of delays and the length of time it would take to try the case.
And this action by the government is the result of the legwork done by Mr. Comartin, a former veteran trial lawyer.
Mr. Comartin was stunned when a Quebec Superior Court judge recently released 31 alleged members of the Hells Angels biker gang, arguing their trials could take 10 years.
The accused were part of a massive police round-up in 2009 and because of the complexity of the evidence and number of witnesses, the judge said delays may prevent fair trials. As a result, he set them free.
Mr. Comartin raised this in the Commons last Tuesday during Question Period, noting the men were released because of “delays expected in their mega trial.” No one was to blame, he suggested, but he called for action. “The police did their job. The prosecutors did their job. It is time for Parliament to do its job,” he demanded.
The Justice Minister agreed.
“This is certainly the time and it was certainly the time in the last Parliament when we introduced the fair and efficient criminal trials act that would strengthen case management, reduce duplication and improve criminal procedure,” Mr. Nicholson said. “That was a great piece of legislation. We are prepared to re-introduce it.”
But that wasn’t good enough. In his follow-up question Mr. Comartin had that the opposition was willing to pass it in the last Parliament “if the government had moved on it.”
“My question to the minister today is this: Will he pledge to the House that we will have the bill before the House and pass it before we leave in the spring?”
Mr. Nicholson replied “that is the easiest pledge I will ever make.” And the Justice Minister is to honour that pledge Monday.
Mr. Comartin had spoken to Mr. Nicholson about the issue earlier; he had also spoken to his Liberal counterpart Irwin Cotler. By laying the groundwork, it appears that the bill – when it is formally introduced in the House later this week – will be given unanimous consent to sail through the chamber and into the Senate.
It is not a complicated bill, Mr. Comartin noted. It is more procedural than substantive and would allow mega-trials to be speeded up to avoid accused being released.
Usually such trials involve multiple accused – anywhere from five to 20 people – and they are generally cases involving organized crime that hinge on much paperwork, surveillance evidence and lots of disclosure.
The system now allows for defence lawyers to argue each and every motion, involving each and every accused separately, resulting in potential delays and courts being overwhelmed. In addition, Mr. Comartin said multiple judges could also be involved in the process, each allowing different amounts of disclosure of evidence.
The proposed bill would allow one judge to deal with the case and it would give him or her the authority to bring together motions so that five or six or 20 accused would be dealt with at the same time, reducing delays and potential withdrawal of charges.
Mr. Comartin, meanwhile, is pleased that the system seems to be working. “With co-operation we can get things done,” he told The Globe
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
While Comartin is to be commended on this law and order mission that just
happens to be supported by every political party, its a no brainer that this
legislation would have been passed sooner or later if Comartin never existed.
On the surface, Comartin is squeeky clean, a supposedly impeccable background and poverty, education and experience with a topping of working with those most in need.
That made and makes Comartin a member of parliament to be reckoned with, he stands to be one of the greatest thorns in the side of Harper because of the danger he represents.
You really have to lift the covers , scrape away that veneer the NDP publicity machine puts on him to understand the personality and the ideals that drive Comartin.
First, he is a gay rights activist, and one of the country's largest supporters of legalization of sodomy and homosexual activities. It's that preoccupation with "gay rights" that begs the question of "what else" is going on?
Back in 2007 he proposed that the Legal Age of SODOMY be reduced to 16,
Yes, you got it, he wants to ever roll back the legal age of SODOMY.
You have to look at the Gay Rights agenda to realize that buried in Government Grants for "Arts" etc, is money for "gay youth" "gay youth art", "Gay YOUTH conselling" etc and you start to see that he really believes the age of consent, for SODOMY should be a lot younger than it is, and that the GOVERNMENT should promote these same ideas, that is, it will be more politically correct to engage in same sex sodomy than heterosexual relations at the same age.
Just why would any SANE politician go on such a mission?
Next, he follows the NDP mantra on supporting FEMINIST ORGANIZATIONS. Now while Comartin chose his organizations carefully, remember that the NDP is the "No Dads Party" that is driven by extreme feminist ideology that has effectively removed the legal rights of men in Canada.
IF the NDP gain more power, we will see their Extreme Feminist ideas that will further criminalize from birth anyone with the misfortune to be born with testicles.
IF Comartin really believed in Equality, he would have opened his mouth on one occasion regarding children's rights and the need for a Legal Presumption of Equal Parenting and the odds of that are just as cows jumping over the moon.
If you are a male, and and NDP supporter with contacts with Comartin, remind him that the No Dads Party promotes hatred towards men.