Wednesday • 2012.05.02
C-26—Citizen’s Arrest and Self-defence Act
Summary: Bill C-26 strengthens provisions allowing for Canadians to use self-defence to protect themselves, others, and their property.
Decision: Christin Milloy would vote YEA on C-26. (41st Parliament, 1st Session)
Bill C-26 was sponsored by Conservative MP Robert Goguen. The bill at the time of this writing has already completed its readings in the House and has also passed first reading in the Senate.
Essentially, C-26 provides that if a person has used violence (or has undertaken some other act which would normally be considered illegal), but they can demonstrate that their actions were taken in their own defence, in defence of another person, or in defence of property, then said person has not actually committed a crime.
The bill lays out circumstances that courts are to consider when presented with such a defence; any reasonable act taken to protect self, others, or property, would now be unquestionably legal in Canada. The law would recognize certain facts that most people would agree are already common sense… That stabbing a rapist makes the world a better place, that knocking out a house invader with a baseball bat is heroic (not criminal), and that punching a would-be purse-snatcher in the gut is a truly noble act.
To address the hypothetical problem of unreasonable force being used against suspected trespassers or thieves, courts are instructed to consider a number of factors when determining whether or not the act in defence of self or property was reasonable:
(2) In determining whether the act committed is reasonable in the circumstances, the court shallconsider the relevant circumstances of the person, the other parties and the act, including, but not limited to, the following factors:
(a) the nature of the force or threat;
(b) the extent to which the use of force was imminent and whether there were other means available to respond to the potential use of force;
(c) the person’s role in the incident;
(d) whether any party to the incident used or threatened to use a weapon;
(e) the size, age, gender and physical capabilities of the parties to the incident;
(f) the nature, duration and history of any relationship between the parties to the incident, including any prior use or threat of force and the nature of that force or threat;
(f.1) any history of interaction or communication between the parties to the incident;
(g) the nature and proportionality of the person’s response to the use or threat of force; and
(h) whether the act committed was in response to a use or threat of force that the person knew was lawful.
By providing for such a defence in court, Bill C-26 will also discourage arrests and prosecutions of anyone who has taken steps to protect themselves, their friends and neighbours, and property.
One’s individual rights to life and property are the cornerstones of civilization, and preserving those rights is indeed amongst the true and proper roles of government in a free society. This bill enables and encourages Canadians to take personal responsibility to act as their own “first line” of defence when those individual rights are threatened. I applaud Mr. Goguen for sponsoring this bill, and were I a sitting Member of Parliament, I would vote Yea on this important piece of legislation.
Special thanks to Chris Murphy at “The Murph Report” blog, he also wrote a piece on C-26 and was responsible for drawing my attention to this excellent opportunity to speak up for the personal and property rights of Canadians.